Photograph of traders on the New York Stock Exchange floor by Richard Drew/AP

The S&P 500 fell 6%, ending under 900 points at its lowest level since April 2003, today as disappointing earnings data shook investor confidence. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 700 points in the final hour, but ended the day down 514 points, at 8,519. A strategist at Stifel Nicolaus told Marketwatch, "What's the problem? Everything is for sale again, forced liquidation, mutual fund redemption and fear of a deep, worldwide recession."

The NY Times commented on this now familiar volatility, "The broader stock market fell almost 6 percent, a plunge that in any other financial environment would be considered extraordinary. Instead, it counted only as the worst loss since last Wednesday, when the Dow plunged 733 points."