stock markets fluctuated wildly on Monday as investors worried about another
spike in oil prices and new concerns about inflation. Despite some strength in afternoon trading, analysts say record
oil prices and continuing fears about the U.S. economy have helped push the Dow
Jones Industrial Average to its worst month since the Great Depression of the
1930s. VOA's Mil
opened on shaky ground after Friday's stock market plunge - when the Dow Jones
Industrial Average closed more than four percent lower for the week.
prices climbing briefly above $143 a barrel for the first time on
Monday, investors were anxious.
Jones Average of 30 of the most widely held U.S. companies is only one
indicator of the nation's economic health. The Dow has fallen nearly 20 percent since October.
Mark Zandi says you don't have to be an investor to feel the effects.
going right for the average American household. Gas prices are at record highs, stock prices are falling, housing
values are evaporating. We're losing
jobs, unemployment is rising. It's just
a very difficult time," he said.
difficult times mean difficult choices.
Vista, California, the local government has cancelled the upcoming fourth of
July celebrations because of a lack of funds.
Massachusetts, some towns are struggling to raise money for fireworks.
motorists wonder how high gasoline prices will go before they are forced to
park their cars - or for California biker Brian Hanable, to leave his
motorcycle at home.
"I could maybe do five, but once it gets close to $6 a
gallon it really starts to make you think a lot," he says.
economic difficulties facing many people, Zandi says it is not all gloom and
adds, "There are a lot of
correctives going on. In the energy
markets we're seeing more supply come on.
House prices is a problem for homeowners but for first time buyers this
is great. Housing's going to become more affordable."
could be more bad news for the economy before the week is out.
A report on
automobile sales for the month of June comes out on Wednesday followed by the
government's monthly employment report on Thursday. Analysts predict neither report will bring good news.