Nightly News | August 06, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: downgrade could mean bad news for your family's bottom line. We get our report tonight from NBC 's John Yang .
JOHN YANG reporting: Dan Gunning has spent a year looking for his Florida retirement home. Today, he decided he needs to find it fast, worried that interest rates will go up now that the United States' credit rating has gone down.
Mr. DAN GUNNING: I don't have the luxury of time anymore if the interest rates are going to go up.
YANG: Analysts say the downgrade could prompt investors to demand higher interest rates for US bonds. That would raise consumer interest rates from everything from credit cards, student loans, car loans and home mortgages. A little increase can mean a lot. On a $200,000 30-year fixed mortgage, just a half point hike would mean an extra $740 a year. Realtor Kevin Gallagher worries about what that would do to business.
Mr. KEVIN GALLAGHER: With all the fear in the market, it just scares people and everybody is very, very cautious.
YANG: But that's all in theory. The real impact is uncertain. Much will depend on how global investors react starting in the Asian markets , the first to open since the downgrade.
Mr. RON INSANA (CNBC Senior Analyst): If this effectively throws gasoline on the fire and Asian markets sell off sharply, it's likely we'll have a difficult time in our own markets here Monday morning.
YANG: Analysts say the biggest impact could be more psychological than practical, further shaking Americans' confidence in the economy. That could be a potential knockout blow to the struggling recovery.
Unidentified Woman: I'm already upside down in my house, so how much worse can it get?
Unidentified Man: I think we're headed for hard times regardless of what happens.
YANG: With the financial implications unclear, experts have advice for investors and consumers.
Ms. VERA GIBBONS (MSNBC Financial Analyst): The last thing you want to do is hit that panic button altogether because that will just kill off confidence, both for consumers and for businesses alike.
YANG: Advice that's been increasingly hard to follow in this week of financial turmoil. John Yang , NBC News, New York.