Oct. 22 Update: Wachovia Reports $24 Billion Loss; Chase Banks Receive Threatening LettersWorries of a world recession continue, as European stock markets opened sharply lower on Wednesday following losses in Asia amid an expected retreat on Wall Street. The bad news includes U.S. banking giant Wachovia announcing its third quarter report and the largest loss by a bank - nearly $24 billion. Wachovia, being bought for Wells Fargo for $14 billion in stock, recorded earnings of $1.62 billion in the same quarter last year.
European markets turned downward, losing up to 4 percent of worth, and U.S. stocks are dropping as companies report poor earnings and downplay prospects of gains in the near future. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 126, or 1.4 percent on the news.
This is happening despite the government actions of a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, and comes a week after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced an additional $250 billion to buy stakes in U.S. banks and a new $540 billion program to aid money market mutual funds being pinched by investors cashing out their money. Paulson said in a Tuesday TV interview that it will take time for things to get back to normal. He sees a "number of difficult months ahead of us in terms of the real economy."
Chase Banks Threatened
On Monday, at least 30 Chase bank offices across the United States were targeted by threatening letters, many of them containing an unidentified white powder. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspectors and local authorities are investigating the letters, which were received at branches in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia and Texas.
French President's Bank Account Hacked
Also in the headlines on Tuesday were two suspects who were arrested for breaking into the personal bank account of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. French police say the two men of African origin are being held by the terrorist section of the crime squad, charged with investigating matters linked to the head of state. The two are suspected of stealing the bank details of several people without realizing the identity of their victims. They used small sums to pay mobile telephone bills. President Sarkozy reported the theft last month and filed a complaint.