March 30, 2009

U.S. markets down on auto news

U.S. markets dropped sharply Monday after the U.S. government said General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC were in danger of losing their federal life support.

The government forced GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner to step aside and gave GM 60 days to nail down concessions with debt holders and union workers. Officials said Chrysler's hopes for more federal loans based on the company striking a deal with Italian automaker Fiat.

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 240.54 points or 3.09 percent to 7,535.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 24.86 or 3.05 percent to 791.08. The Nasdaq composite index lost 50.24 or 3.25 percent to 1,494.96.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 18/32 to yield 2.69 percent.

The dollar was mixed. The euro fell to $1.3132, compared to Friday's $1.3299. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell to 96.857 yen, compared to Friday's 97.92 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average dropped 390.89 points to 8,236.08, down 4.53 percent.