The drop left few areas of the market untouched. Oil prices plummeted $10 a barrel to settle at $96.36, reports Stevenson Jacobs for the Associated Press. This means that in the last week, oil has dropped nearly 20%.
Pump prices kept falling, with the national average for a gallon slipping to $3.643. Prices could go even lower soon as production is stepped up in the Gulf Coast following the passages of hurricanes.
Outside of leveraged funds that offer inverse plays on various sectors, there were some bright spots to be found in the markets today. Many investors ran to traditional safe-haven investments, such as Treasury bonds. As a result, such funds rose today. The biggest gainer was the iShares Lehman 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT), which rose 2.9%.
Gold funds rose higher today: the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) rose 3.5%, while PowerShares DB Gold (DGL) rose 3.1%. The dollar strengthened as well, with the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (UUP) going up 0.7%.
Just two weeks ago, we had another bad day in the markets in which the Dow lost more than 500 points. Our advice today remains as it was then: investors should not panic. That doesn’t mean you should ignore what’s happening, but simply pay attention and protect yourself.