Latest selloff is one of several in this bull run

The bull market that started last March has had three stumbles, including the latest three-day selloff that cost the Standard & Poor’s 500 index 5.1 percent.

None of them have yet been big enough to be termed what market experts call a “correction,” or a short-term decline of 10 percent or more.

Here’s a rundown of pullbacks the market has seen since March 9, when the market bottomed at its lowest level in 12 years.

WHY IT HAPPENED: Stocks started falling after China said it would pull back on bank lending to cool its superheated economy. Then President Barack Obama announced his latest move to crack down on U.S. banks, proposing rules to restrict their trading and prevent further consolidation.

WHY IT HAPPENED: Stocks faltered after reaching their highest level in a year as danger signs emerged on the economy, including a drop in new home sales and weaker consumer spending. The S&P 500 ended down for October, breaking a streak of seven straight months of gains. [Read the full article]

The deadliest earthquake in more than 200 years not only flattened homes and stole hundreds of thousands of lives. It also collapsed an economy that was nearly in need of life support before the tragedy.

Although exact numbers are not known, Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that total losses from the earthquake could reach $1 billion.

Rebuilding for many will be close to impossible without significant help: Only 30 percent of the nation’s businesses are covered by insurance, said Chamber president Reginal Boulos.

“Many of these people have pending bank loans,” Boulos said. “Some will be unable to repay. [Read the full article]

Not long ago, Ben Bernanke appeared headed for easy confirmation to a second term as Federal Reserve chief due to his handling of the worst financial crisis and recession since the Depression.

But the vote may be close amid growing public sentiment that Bernanke has favored Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. Two Democratic senators came out Friday against his confirmation, with sources saying it wasn’t clear if Bernanke had enough support.

The uncertainty unnerved Wall Street. The Nasdaq fell 2.7%, the S&P 500 2.2% and the Dow 2.1%. That followed losses Thursday as President Obama lashed out at big banks and called for sharp limits on their size and trading activities.

Obama on Friday pledged continued support, saying that he has “a great deal of confidence in what Chairman Bernanke did to bring our economy back from the brink,” deputy White House spokesman Bill Burton said. He expressed optimism that Bernanke will prevail. [Read the full article]

Ben Bernanke’s confirmation to a second term as U.S. Federal Reserve chairman suddenly appeared in jeopardy on Friday even after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would back him.

Two Senate Democrats on Friday announced they would oppose Bernanke, citing concerns about the economy that promise to be a key campaign issue and joining the growing number of senators who have vowed to vote against his appointment.

With the U.S. job market in disarray and voters angry at Wall Street, members of Congress facing mid-term elections in November have come down hard on the central bank.

Reid, late in the day, issued a qualified statement of support for Bernanke, whose current term expires on January 31.

“While I will vote for his confirmation, my support is not unconditional,” Reid said. [Read the full article]

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