In the wake of the U.S. subprime mortgage meltdown, markets around the world have seen credit sources evaporate. Seven central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, have collectively infused an estimated $400 billion dollars into the global financial system over the past two weeks, hoping to calm fears of a paralyzing credit crunch. But the Fed's decision Friday to approve 50 basis-point cut in the discount rate took many by surprise.
Was the cut in the discount rate, or the interest rate that the Fed charges to make direct loans to banks, merely in reaction to a temporary credit crunch -- or a sobering signal that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke perceives deeper troubles in the U.S. financial sector? CNBC's Market Task Force and expert guests took on the question -- and offered survival advice to investors.