Low confidence in Bush's economic plan

January 21, 2008 7:11:16 PM PST
A lack of confidence in President Bush's plan to stimulate the U.S. economy sent financial markets into a deep plunge around the world today.

In Tokyo, investors are keeping a close watch on Japan's Nikkei Index as an indicator of what we can expect next.

Stocks in Great Britain fell a full 5.5 percent. Across the channel in France, the market plunged almost seven percent. And Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index took its biggest percentage drop in Monday trading since the 9/11 attacks ? 5.5 percent.

Analysts believe the markets were looking for more in the President's plan to bolster the economy. There is no better proof of our global economy than to see this kind of reaction to a looming U.S. recession. Japanese car makers, Chinese factories, and German engineering companies all count on a vibrant American economy to sell their goods.

"Another horrible day" is how one investor in Hong Kong described it.

The same could be said in Japan, China, India, South Korea and all across Europe.

Global investors appear to have little faith in the economic stimulus package President Bush proposed on Friday.

"When the markets opened in Asia, they didn't like it. They didn't think it was enough. They were under-whelmed," says John Moylan, BBC financial reporter.

The proposal includes $145 billion dollars in tax relief to encourage consumer spending.

"This growth package must be big enough to make a difference in an economy as large and dynamic as ours," says President Bush.

So far, the President's proposal is not making a real difference to investors.

"We could be having here kind of a financial bird flu," says Terry Connelly, Dean of Golden Gate University Business School.

Connelly says there is growing concern over the impact the U.S. economic crisis will have on Europe and Asia.

Today, Japans' Chief Cabinet Secretary voiced ongoing global concern over the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the U.S.

"There is a ticking clock in Japan over the next month or two waiting for what write downs the Japanese banks take when they have to disclose their positions in March," says Connelly.

Some overseas financial institutions, such as Great Britain's Northern Rock, have been hit just as hard as overstretched homeowners. There is also worry over the potential for a weak outlook on the U.S. export market.

"We're truly in a global financial world and that globalization cuts two ways," says Connelly.

A significant export slowdown would have an adverse effect around the world.

The Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee meets next Tuesday and Wednesday. Investors are expecting interest rates to be lowered by one-half of one percent. It could act sooner if Wall Street is in turmoil when trading resumes Tuesday.