Thursday Update: Markets Swoon at Sound of the 'R' Word

All it took was a single word: "Recession."

Once a pair of Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday spoke openly of the U.S. economy being at risk of falling into recession, global markets lost all the steam they had gathered early in the week.

In the U.S., The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Weds, lost 733.08 points, or roughly 8%. The S&P 500 lost more than 9 percent, while Nasdaq fell 8.5 percent.

Following those losses, in Asia the Nikkei fell more than 11 percent -- its biggest one-day loss since the 1987 stock market crash -- while South Korea dropped 9.4 percent.

Some other interesting economic points to note:

Retail sales fell 1.2 % in September, pointing toward the first quarterly decline in spending since 1991;
Jobless claims weighed in at 461,000 in the most recent week, down 16,000 from the previous week;
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) saw no Sept. change, following a .1 percent decline in August.

Bankers, Analysts Optimistic
Despite Wednesday's market dip, a pair of insiders had optimistic words about how banking institutions can instill and strengthen consumer confidence.

In an exclusive interview, Guillermo Kopp, Executive Director and Research Fellow at TowerGroup, referred to Monday's bank bailout as "all about restoring confidence." To hear Kopp's insights on banking business priorities, listen to this podcast interview.

On Wednesday, Michael Jacobson, President of NebraskaLand National Bank and chair-elect of the Nebraska Bankers Association, spoke optimistically about the state of banking in the heartland, and he also offered advice to institutions looking to reassure customers about safety and soundness. To hear Jacobson's insights, listen to this interview in its entirety.

Banking Confidence Survey
Also on Weds., Information Security Media Group - publisher of and - announced its new Banking Confidence Survey, aimed at showing how banking institution are responding to recent economic events and the resulting crisis in confidence.

This survey is live now, and the results will be tabulated and analyzed for publication sometime next week. Go to the site now to register your responses and ensure that you will receive the results.

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