Stocks Plunge at Open

AIG, Lehman take huge hits, but Merrill takeover stabilizes market slightly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2008 9:09 AM CDT
Traffic passes a branch of the Bank of America today in New York.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Stocks tumbled at the opening bell this morning, with the Dow dropping more than 300 points after a weekend that turned the financial industry on its head. Lehman Brothers’ collapse and AIG’s request for $40 billion from the Federal Reserve “are causing a major financial panic this morning,” said one strategist—though Bank of America’s takeover of Merrill Lynch injected some optimism, CNNMoney reports.

The S&P fell 2.5%, while the Nasdaq dropped 2.5%. “We've never witnessed this before,” said one strategist. “There's no road map for this.” Lehman fell 93%, while AIG dropped 44%. But Merrill leapt 39%, thanks to the buyout that was the market’s ray of hope. “It says there's life after death," said one strategist. Bank of America's magnanimity was met with a 13% decline.