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US, Global Markets End Week Sharply Lower

Wall Street continued its downward trajectory Friday as investor pessimism sent global stocks sharply lower.

Key Asian indexes fell two percent, while markets from London to Paris saw declines between three to five percent.

The sell-off came despite $1 trillion plan to stabilize U.S. banks, $75 billion to deal with the struggling U.S. housing crisis and a $787 billion stimulus package to create jobs and stimulate spending. At this point, investor confidence remains low.

Financial strategist Alan Skrainka explained, "Investors are not convinced that these programs are going to work, that they're going to be enough. In the meantime the news in the economy has been very bad and they just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The Obama administration has said turning the U.S. economy around will be neither quick nor easy.

But President Obama told a meeting of mayors on Friday that American patience will be rewarded.

"This plan doesn't mark the end of what we'll do together," he said. "It marks the beginning. So now it falls to us to seize the possibilities of this moment and convert peril into promise."

But peril was clearly on investor's minds.

European indexes fell to 6-year lows, while Japan's Topix plunged to its lowest level since 1984.

Hong Kong investment analyst Francis Lun said problems at Asian and European banks added to the slide.

Lun said, "The market opened much lower today, mainly due to the financial stocks, European banks scuttled by the financial crisis in eastern Europe. So, HSBC and Standard Charter [international banks] continue to fall."

On a brighter note, Sam Stovall of Standard and Poor's says the sooner the markets reach bottom, the sooner recovery can begin.

Stovall said, "Stock prices tend to bottom out about five months ahead of the end of the recession, they also tend to bottom out around eight months ahead of the peak in unemployment, as well as the trough in earnings."

Although better than expected earnings in technology stocks helped cut losses on Wall Street, blue chip indexes closed in the red again on Friday, as the Dow fell to an 11-year low.