The US government has promised to work quickly to implement a $700bn rescue package for the US financial sector.

Last night, US President George W Bush signed into law the plan after it was approved by the House of Representatives.

However after a brutal week on Wall Street, investors are still searching for a reason to cheer.

The bailout is expected to help start a recovery from a US housing meltdown, but some argue it is not clear when a global credit crunch that is choking off economic activity will start to ease.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 7.34% for the week to 10,325.38, including last Monday's record loss of 777 points.

The broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index saw an even steeper loss of 9.39% for the week to 1,099.23 while the Nasdaq composite plunged 10.8% to 1,947.39.

The stomach-churning week on Wall Street came amid a further freeze-up of global credit markets, virtually shutting down interbank lending and threatening to further roil a weak economy.