Dow Plunge: Everything but the Missiles

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NEW YORK: The markets generally love a little U.S. agression -- it makes oil prices go up. So how to explain the Dow's 250-point plunge Friday? FORTUNE Wall Street writer Bethany McLean says that traders just have too many other things to worry about. "There's a rumor that Venezuela might devalue. Russia looks even shakier today. German banks were battered last night because of their exposure to Russia, and another Japanese bank went under," she says. "There are just too many worries today that the whole crisis is snowballing."

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And for once, US aggression is actually heightening investors' jitters: Taking on terrorists is decidedly riskier than the usual Saddam-battering because it makes Americans targets all over the world, especially in finance/Islam hotspots like Indonesia and Malaysia. "It's added to the feeling of uncertainty," says McLean.