The big question for every investor over the weekend was: Will global stock market indexes add to the stunning gains they made on Thursday and Friday? Early evidence on Monday suggests they won't - but if some investors feared a dramatic retreat as sobriety kicks in, that hasn't happened either.
U.S. stock index futures were down with about an hour before markets open, suggesting stocks will fall at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell 69 points, to 11,290, a mere rounding error given the index surged more than 775 points in the last two trading sessions of last week. Futures for the broader S&P 500 fell 6 points, to 1240.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent and Germany's DAX index fell 0.3 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.4 per cent in afternoon trading.
Whereas late last week investors were buffeted with news about the sorry state of the U.S. financial system, and then a grand rescue plan, this week could be the start of extensive mop-up operations. On Monday, Congress will mull over the U.S. Treasury's $700-billion (U.S.) bank bailout plan and what consequences it will have on the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar.
Goldan Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley announced on the weekend that they will transform themselves from investment banks - after competitors Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers disappeared from the scene - and into retail banks, relying on the stability of deposits. This has been hailed as yet another "end of Wall St. as we know it."
As well, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan's largest bank, announced on Monday that it may buy up to 20 per cent of Morgan Stanley.