Obama sworn in as US President, but Wall Street plummets

Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the United States, after he was sworn in at a ceremony in front of the Washington DC capitol building early this morning Australian time.

Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the United States, after he was sworn in at a ceremony in front of the Washington DC capitol building early this morning Australian time.

But Wall Street largely ignored the festivities in Washington and recorded the sharpest inauguration day slump in history.

Before a crowd of two million spectators, Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden both took the oath of office administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.

In a widely-praised speech (see below for the video and the full text), rumoured to be written entirely by Obama himself, he reminded Americans of the state of the global economy and what must be done over the next few years.

“Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.”

Wall Street seemed to take the somber message to heart, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 332.13 points or 4.01% to 7949.09 – the biggest drop in inauguration day history. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 44.88 points, or 5.3%, to a preliminary close of 805.24.

Obama’s first week in office is expected to have a large focus on the American economy, particularly the $US825 billion stimulus package currently before congress.

 

 

 

The above video of part one links to the remaining parts of the speech. For the full text click here.

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