We began the third quarter with most of the major stock markets in bear market posture, off 20% or more and we continued to decline from there. The Dow Jones Industrials dropped another 4.4% while both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell over 9% more. From top to bottom the Dow lost a maximum of 27% while the S&P and Nasdaq toppled 30%.  It was a quarter of ugly new records as the largest bank in US history failed and the largest US insurance company appealed for government help. Every investment bank on Wall Street is now gone. The nation’s first money market fund the Reserve Primary Fund went below a dollar a share or “broke the buck” when Lehman defaulted on a large chunk of debt owned by the fund. The rates banks charge each other on loans reached record highs bringing those markets to a standstill. In fact, it’s hard to find a market that has not been significantly affected by near and complete freezes in credit flows. And broken record or all broken records, by the end of a three-month ordeal Wall Street finds itself begging for help from a less-than-sympathetic US House of Representatives.

Oil is dropping like arock. It stands at $117.42 a barrel in New York, 20% below its record high of $147.27 reached July11th. Copper heads for its biggest weekly drop since March and down 12% since June. The dollar is climbing to a five?month high against the Euro putting further pressure on oil and other commodities. And gold fell to an eight?week low in London on speculation that dollar gains will spur gold sales by investors who bought the metal as a hedge against a sinking dollar.