Today, the Dow Jones fell 512 points, its 9th biggest drop, over 4% as the S&P 500 also fell 4% and the Nasdaq plummeted over 5% as the world worried about the soundness of global economies. There's a lot of angst and fear, but in the scheme of things, it's not exactly like the downward spiral in late 2008—on December 1, 2008, the Dow fell over 700 points— and early 2009 (see graph)...yet.

  • "This is a fear-driven market. We're in a mini-free fall. It's not a Black Monday, or Black Thursday, but it's in pretty bad shape-all the big stocks are being liquidated"—Christian Thwaites, president and chief executive at Sentinel Investments, to the Wall Street Journal
  • "The conventional wisdom on Wall Street was that the economy was growing -- that the worst was behind us. Now what people are realizing is the stimulus didn't work, and we may be headed back to recession"—Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, to CNN
  • "We are now in correction mode. We could have another couple of weeks to go before it bottoms."—Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s to the NY Times
  • "There is no reason to buy U.S. cash equities. [Investors have] come to the point where we find out we could be looking at ten more years of austerity."— Doreen Mogavero, president of Mogavero Lee & Co, to the WSJ
  • "This is the worst it has been in Europe. The current rescue package was not enough to cope with the size of the problems posed by Italy and Spain. We need a new framework that can cope with those two countries, and without it markets are on their own and are falling."—Jens Nordvig, currency economist at Nomura Securities in New York, to the Times
  • "You've got a weak economy, the aversion of a debt crisis but not a solution, and you've got the rest of the globe starting to implode in a lot of areas, especially Europe. It's natural that people would react with fear."—Barry James, president and chief executive of the James Advantage Funds, to the WSJ
  • "The mood right now is gloomy. The burden of proof is for better data that show the economy is not falling into recession. Tomorrow’s payroll report is crucial. If we see another disappointment, the stock market will have significant downside from here.”—Mike Ryan, the New York- based chief investment strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas, to Bloomberg News