May 8 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks crumble, but end above worst levels of the day on euro worries. Walt Disney beats quarterly forecasts; McDonald's sales disappoint. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Concerns about the euro zone debt crisis pulled stocks to a two-month closing low, although the losses ended up to be far smaller than earlier in the day. The fallout was spread across asset classes. NYMEX crude closed out its biggest five-day drop since October last year. And spot gold touched below $1600 for the first time since January. On the upside of that trade: the dollar - as investors bet U.S. assets will be less risky than Europe's. Newbridge Securities' senior wealth manager Douglas Blake explains the total reaction. SOUNDBITE: DOUGLAS BLAKE, SENIOR WEALTH MANGER, NEWBRIDGE SECURITIES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The euro zone is such an integral part of the global economy. You know, the number one trading partner with the U.S., the number one trading partner with China, losing them as that cog of the center of this machine is going to be detrimental to every economy around globe." Big picture worries overshadowed corporate headlines. Walt Disney beat earnings forecasts and sales were ahead of expectations as well. McDonald's posted disappointed sales gains at restaurants opened around the world for more than a year. Bank of America is sending out more than 200,000 letters to homeowners who may qualify for mortgage debt reduction. And Ford is shortening a planned summer shutdown to one week from the usual two weeks in order to keep up with demand. Back to the final numbers: Wall Street averted a major sell-off, settling the day with losses less than one percent. But stocks were down 2 percent in Germany, nearly 3 percent in France and just under 2 percent in London. Conway Gittens, Reuters