The sour headlines lead. Ford wants billions in loans. Car makers’ sales are tumbling, like a too-tall SUV on a tight curve. Delta’s slashing service. Staples and Sears are staggering. GE and Goldman Sachs say their decks are awash.

Black Friday produced nothing more than a one-day Dow plunge of nearly 700 points, unless you count rumors of a Cyber Monday to save the holiday retail season, which sounded a lot like rumors of there being more lifeboats aft as the Titanic pitched forward. Analysts everywhere are drastically cutting back on optimism. All that’s expected to rise is credit-card write-offs.

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