"The market was already under pressure because of the growing recognition that the crisis in Greece has gone from being a Greek problem to a regional problem and now it's morphing into a global problem," Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco's CEO, told Reuters.
Stocks fell again in volatile trading Friday amid continued worries about what caused the meltdown and whether it would happen again. Fears about the debt crisis also hurt confidence, though the focus was clearly on the markets themselves.
Even less noticed was Friday's employment report, which showed a huge increase in April payrolls but a higher unemployment rate.
"It's amazing that you could say the jobs report may not be the big mover on a Friday of a jobs report number," Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen, Ball & Associates said. "I think we're watching overseas and what's going on in the equities market."
Whatever is preoccupying the markets, there is a sharp debate about where stocks go from here. Though many experts advise caution, others say investors can take advantage of the market sell-off, which has seen the major indexes surrender most of their 2010 gains.
“It’s like somebody pressed a reset button on the market,” said Gary Flam, portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles. “So we’re looking for an opportunity to add some positions and to establish new positions.”
Once the mystery over Thursday's meltdown is resolved, however, investors are likely to return to the fundamentals—including the global debt crisis.
The predictions are certaintly sobering. A parade of economists and market pros—though many of them renowned for their pessimism—told CNBC and CNBC.com that the problems in Greece may soon spread.
Here's a sampling of some of them:
Bove: US Banks Are Exposed