By Markets Media

Troubled Times

Last week, it was evident that traders and investors in the U.S. were spooked by the inability of Congress to cooperate and the ability of European Union member states to work out their sovereign debt problems. A ray of hope still existed as late as Friday.

On Monday, that ray of hope faded away into obscurity as it was all but officially confirmed that the super committee appointed by Congress to tackle the U.S. deficit would not be able to reach consensus, triggering automatic spending cuts. And Europe continues to display that it is not capable of serious reform.

And in turn, futures and equity traders signaled they had had enough. Within an hour of the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged over 315 points before closing the day down 248 points at 11,547. The S&P 500 closed at 1192, down 22 points.

The key 1201 level for the S&P was easily shattered like glass and traders large and small are keeping a close eye on the technical level of 1180. Once that level is broken, the market is expected to enter into a freefall until reaching the next level of support, 1124.

Adding insult to injury, MF Global’s court-appointed trustee overseeing the firm’s bankruptcy said that it now believes that over $1 billion in customer accounts is missing, compared with the earlier estimate of $620 million.

The rest of the week is expected to be a quiet one now that options expiration is over with for the month and Thanksgiving. Many traders will continue to be glued to their seats until Wednesday afternoon, though.

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