This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in:Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
27 July, 2007 - Published 12:45 GMT
Stock markets slide
Man looking at stock market figures

There have been sharp falls in share prices on stock markets in Europe and North America. The slide was driven by worries about the US housing market and concern that banks and investors are becoming less willing to take risks. This report from Mark Gregory:

Listen to the story

Stock markets across Europe and the US had their worst day in several months. In London the main share index fell more than 200 points - the biggest one day points drop in over four years.

Everywhere the gloom was partly a response to new figures underlying the slump in the US housing market. Poor company profits data and a jump in oil prices also played a part. But, perhaps most important, the markets are gripped by worry that banks and investors generally are becoming much less willing to take on risk.

For some time financial institutions have been reeling from an expected 100 billion dollars of losses from low income Americans defaulting on loans to buy their homes. Now there's concern about the corporate debt market - on Wednesday it emerged that banks were unable to find other investors willing to share the risk in a high profile corporate takeover, the 12 billion dollar buy-out of the US car giant Chrysler.

Other planned takeovers could also be in trouble. Analysts are warning of a "global credit crunch" - meaning business could find it hard to raise money. Things aren't anywhere near as bad as that yet - the fear is they may become so.

Mark Gregory, BBC

Listen to the words

Stock markets
associations of dealers in shares and/or goods ready for sale or distribution, doing business according to fixed rules

pessimistic or depressed mood

underlying the slump
being the basis of the sudden decline in trade or business

here, sharp and sudden growth

gripped by
dominated or affected by

to take on risk
here, to invest into businesses or enterprises that aren't financially secure now but may become profitable in the future

reeling from
being seriously affected by

defaulting on loans
here, borrowing money but not being able to pay it back

corporate takeover
when one large company or corporation takes control of another

the purchase of a controlling share in a company

27 May, 2011
Destruction of smallpox virus delayed
25 May, 2011
Micro-finance 'misused and abused'
20 May, 2011
Lonely planets
18 May, 2011
Germany to invest in more electric cars
16 May, 2011
Argentina builds a tower of books
Other Stories