The three U.S. stock indices fell 4% or more today: Nasdaq was down 3.99%, the S&P 500 dropped 4.66% (closing at 700.82) and the Dow Jones lost 299 points, closing at 6,763 points, its lowest level since 1997.

A strategist told the NY Times "It’s pretty despondent everywhere. O.K., there are signs that some of the leading indicators have stabilized to some extent, but it’s at a very, very low level, and we’re not seeing corporate investment picking up, or consumers starting to spend again — in other words, the traditional mechanisms by which economies come out of a recession are absent at this time."

The big news of the day was AIG: After announcing a $61.7 billion loss last quarter (after receiving $150 billion in support from the government), the insurance giant secured another $30 billion bailout from the feds and offered up a restructuring plan. AIG CEO Edward Liddy also told CNBC he wasn't sure if AIG would need another bailout in the future (related). Now, former AIG head Hank Greenberg is suing his old company for fraud; Clusterstock explains, "Greenberg says that mirepresentations by the company caused him to overpay for the stock."

Another strategist told the Wall Street Journal, "Investors finally understand this recession will be deeper and longer, and the recovery will be shallow. And the government doesn't have a sense of any solution that might instill confidence."