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A WORLD OF WORRY

Global economic turmoil was in evidence again Monday, as U.S. markets were hit with a late-day plunge (Story, 5B), and overseas, while European markets were relatively stable, Asian markets reeled. Some highlights from a manic Monday:

New homes

Sales of new, single-family homes unexpectedly rose 2.7 percent in September, the Commerce Department reported Monday. However, builders' discounts helped push down the median price of a new home to $218,400, or 9.1 percent below what it was a year ago. That means prices have rolled back to what they were four years ago.

Bailout cash

The government has begun doling out $125-billion to nine major banks this week as part of its effort to contain the financial crisis. SunTrust Banks of Atlanta, a big player in the Tampa Bay area, said Monday it has received preliminary approval from the Treasury Department for a $3.5-billion investment. It marks the first deployment of resources from the $700-billion financial rescue package.

European markets

Most of Europe's major stock exchanges had a relatively calm day Monday, as Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.79 percent and Germany's DAX index rose 0.91 percent. The major exception was France's CAC-40, which declined 3.96 percent.

Gas and oil prices

The price of unleaded regular gas dipped below $2 in some parts of the country as oil futures closed at $63.22 Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 57 percent from their high of $147.27 set in July. Above, customers line up Monday to get gas for $1.99 a gallon at a Mobil gas station in Fairfield, Ohio.In the Tampa Bay area, AAA reported the average price of regular gas Monday at $2.67.

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei index closed down 6.4 percent to its lowest since October 1982 as the financial crisis raised recession fears and drove up the yen, piling pressure on the country's exporters. Among other losers on the day were China's Shanghai Composite Index, which lost 6.3 percent and is about 72 percent from its peak about a year ago; and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which tumbled 12.7 percent.

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