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Wednesday, Sept. 17 - Another free fall
Wednesday, Sept. 17 - Another free fall
An employee exits the American International Group building in New York on Wednesday after the government bailed out the insurance company.
Investors gave an enormous thumbs-down to the AIG news, sending stocks plummeting, while traders piled funds into safer havens. Gold rose $70, a new record. Oil rose $6, its second-largest jump ever. And the yield on the three-month Treasury sank to 0.02%, the lowest level since 1940.

The Dow dropped 450 points by the end of the day, dragged down by bank stocks in a tail-spin. Despite reporting better-than-expected results, Goldman Sachs shares dipped below $100 a share for the first time since 2005. Morgan Stanley took a tumble as well, as rumors circulated that it would merge with troubled bank Wachovia.

Many Wall Street analysts blamed the stock market's collapses on so-called "naked" short sellers, who short stocks without ever buying the security. Subsequently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in and banned naked short selling.

NEXT: Thursday, Sept. 18 - The bailout
Last updated September 14 2009: 2:19 PM ET
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