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European stocks plunge

This is a chart of the Italian stock market, and it's a good illustration of just how ugly things have gotten in Europe, and a big reason for why U.S. markets are swooning. Italian stocks are down 67% from their 2007 highs, and that is reminiscent of the plunge in Japan's Nikkei index, which is still down 75% from its 1989 high. By comparison, the S&P 500 is down only 22% from its '07 high, and the Dow is down only 12%.

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