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The BBC's Richard Quest in Washington:
"The drop took on frightening proportions"
 real 28k

Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
$1,000bn wiped off US stocks
Nasdaq
More than $1,000bn was wiped off the value of America's leading companies on Friday as its stock markets suffered one of their blackest days.

New York's already nervous financial markets were sent into freefall by figures showing that inflation rose at its fastest rate for five years in March.


Market losses
Dow Jones: -616, record points fall
Nasdaq: -356, nearly $500bn loss
At the end of a tumultuous week's trading all the major stock market indexes tumbled.

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average finished down 616 points at 10,307.

That was a record fall in terms of points, and represents a fall in the combined value of all firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange of about $700bn.


Chicago futures pit
A wild day's trading in the Nasdaq 100 futures pit in Chicago
Despite that tumble, in percentage terms the 5% drop does not make it into the list of the 10 worst days in its 103 year history.

But the pain was even greater for the tech stock dominated Nasdaq, whose benchmark index was down nearly 10%, or 355.6 points, at 3,321.

In total on Friday nearly $500bn was wiped off the value of the companies listed on Nasdaq.

It was the Nasdaq's biggest one day points fall on record and its second worst day in terms of the percentage drop.

Bubble burst

It has lost more than a quarter of its value this week. It is 35% below the 5,000-plus peak set last month.

In terms of the value of the companies listed on the Nasdaq, $2,250bn has been wiped from their combined value in five weeks.


More gloomy traders
You didn't have to see the figures to know it had been a bad day on the markets
The slump was seen as confirming that the technology "bubble" has now been punctured.

Analysts said the falls were not a fully fledged crash but did appear to signal the long awaited correction in the inflated valuations placed on internet and technology-related companies.

The apparent spark for the latest falls in an already declining market were figures showing that inflation in the US posted its highest jump in five years during March.

Europe falls in line

This raises the chance of further interest rate rises in the US, which make shares a less attractive proposition for investors.

But there had also been growing concern that technology and internet related firms have risen to unsustainably high levels.

The big beasts of the technology jungle in the US have shown the scale of the decline, with Microsoft shares down to 74.5 from their all time high of 120.

That fall has wiped more than $230bn from its market value.

There is likely to be a knock-on effect for Asian and European markets on Monday, which were closed by the time the losses in America started approaching record levels.

The early falls in New York did add to the decline in Europe with London's FTSE 100 index ending Friday at 6177.8, down 179 points.

Big fallers included high-tech firms, with handheld computer maker Psion losing nearly a quarter of its value as it closed at 2,630p. That is one third of its peak reached in March

Other losers included Baltimore Technologies, down 24% at 5,344p, Arm Holdings and Kingston Communications, down 10% to 686p.

In Frankfurt, the Dax closed at 7,214.3, down 234.2 points, or more than 3%.

The Cac 40 in Paris ended 3% lower at 6,065.7.

For the week the FTSE 100 was down 391 points, the Dax down 308 points and the Cac down 243 points.

Friday's 9.7% fall for the Nasdaq was its biggest ever fall, topping the 7.6% and 7.1% suffered on 3 April and 12 April respectively.

It is now back at the levels it last saw in November last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has had a volatile year to date, with its closing value comfortably above its lows of last month - but also more than 6% down on its start of year levels.

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The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
See also:

14 Apr 00 | Business
A crash or a 'correction'?
14 Apr 00 | Business
Has the bubble burst?
14 Apr 00 | Business
US inflation jumps
12 Apr 00 | Business
Tech stocks tumble further
05 Apr 00 | Business
Stock markets gloomy
06 Apr 00 | Business
London trading: what went wrong?
17 Mar 00 | Business
Rollercoaster week for stocks
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