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America's New War: Financial Terror on Wall Street

Aired September 21, 2001 - 05:17   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, speaking of the nation's economy, there is financial terror on Wall Street these days. Since the U.S. markets reopened on Monday, the Dow, the most significant measure of American industrial might, has fallen double digits.

CNN's Brooks Jackson takes a look at the fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Empty hotel rooms. Empty convention centers, empty taxi cabs and limousines, unemployment offices overflowing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm unemployed due to the attack on America.

JACKSON: Economic aftershocks from last week's attacks are ravaging the business travel industry, hitting upscale hotels. Washington's Ritz-Carlton, normally $450 a night, cut rates to $119 for government travelers and their families, and still expects to be less than half full.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's cost us in the region of $2 million.

JACKSON: To keep busy and maybe drum up business, the pastry chef is making cookies and pies for idle bellmen to carry as gifts to key clients.

The slump is also hitting budget hotels. Some Best Western hotels lost half their reservations last week. Calls to the chain's central reservation number are down 20 percent.

Hitting everywhere: The big Hilton chain normally gets two- thirds of its business from convention and business travelers, and says the next few weeks may be its worst ever.

It's hitting stockholders. Hilton's stock has plunged 40 percent.

And it's also hitting cabdrivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since nine o'clock, and even I didn't pick up nobody.

JACKSON: And that was just after noon. At Washington's Grand Hyatt, desk clerks are out of work because so many business meeting were canceled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... everybody at the front desk got laid off, so everybody's laid off at the front desk except for the managers.

JACKSON: Boston has lost three city-wide conventions that would have brought in 15,000 visitors and an estimated $15 million to the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's everything from the restaurants to the tour companies, the taxicabs, literally every kind of business that you find in America is in some way affected by travel.

JACKSON: Hotels had record profits last year, so they're not hurting as much as the airlines are now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The industry will still be profitable this year. It will just be the first time in a number of years that the profit level for the industry has gone down.

JACKSON: Still, the lost travel business is costing untold millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

(on camera): Travel industry executives say they hope for a return to normal by next year. But there are no real precedents to guide them. So, forecasts are just guesswork.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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