DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From Wall Street to the streets of Dallas, heads dropped and spirits sank as the stock market plunged more than 500 points Thursday, the worst since Dec. 2008.
Checking online throughout the day, Berney Williams watched the stock market plummet from his downtown office.
"I thought the bottom was 300 points down, and I went back at the end of the day and I was like, 'Oh my God! 500 points,'" he said.
The Dow's sudden drop affected virtually everyone invested in the stock market.
"It'd knock the stilts out of you, if that's what your retirement is based on," said Williams.
Williams considers himself lucky, though.
"I got all scared about the debt crisis thing, so I cashed out on the 27th," he said. "That smoothed over, and then, bam! The other train wreck came. I didn't see that train coming."
So what did happen?
"The market's kind of a strange beast. You don't always know what's going to make it mad," said Professor Mike Davis with SMU's Cox School of Business. "But today we had really bad news coming out of Europe. We had bad economic numbers that we've already gotten."
The long-term picture, though, looks brighter, he said.
"Historically, markets tend to recover from these kind of really bad days," Davis said. "But whether the market recovers in two days, two weeks, two months, or two years - it's just impossible to predict."
Davis suggests investors sit tight and wait.
"The best thing we can do as individuals is not panic," he said.
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