lemmus walllstreetus: Wall Street's last 45 minutes, 10/9/08
Shaking my head

Volatility and speeches

I was watching the Dow just after it opened this morning, and for the first ten minutes it sure did look like the apocalypse, dropping like a stone to the 7,880s, a level (I think) not seen as a closing since 2002. Yesterday, or was it the day before, the financial press was talking about the market being at its lowest level on  five years. Within the next week, the Dow may close at the lowest level in ten years. How far back in time is the bottom anyway? Pre-Clinton maybe? (That would be below 3,500.)

I watched Obama's speech this morning in Ohio one the CNN video feed. He was on fire, especially at the end, preaching the American Dream. The speech concluded,

Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail. Together, we can overcome the broken policies and divided politics of the last eight years. Together, we can renew an economy that rewards work and rebuilds the middle class. Together, we can create millions of new jobs, and deliver on the promise of health care you can afford and education that helps your kids compete. We can do this if we come together; if we have confidence in ourselves and each other; if we look beyond the darkness of the day to the bright light of hope that lies ahead. Together, we can change this country and change this world. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

Meanwhile, the right's message today seems to be the need to combat "socialism" by which they mean centrist American politics; that and xenophobia. (What kind of idiots the the Republicans nominate, anyway? Can't McCain & Palin even pretend to care about this?)

Right now the Dow is at 8,1,87, down 392 (or about 4.6%). So far the low point of the day was 7,882.51 at about 9:40AM. I am expecting a close below 8,000.

Stock markets like Democrats better than Republicans, and so do I, especially today.

Yesterday was written up as the most volatile day for the stock market on record (or something like that) and so far today makes yesterday look tame.

Hah. Now (at 4:48 PM) we're in another plunge. Dow down 6.17%. And we haven't even got to then end-of-the-day plunge yet. Make that 6.63%.

Object of contemplation from MarketWatch:

As the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunges toward 8,000, investors are scrambling for meaningful market data, desperately scouring the past for clues to the future.

What they're seeing -- if they can dredge up the nearly 80-year-old numbers -- is sobering: While October 1929 is remembered as the month the market crashed, it didn't hit bottom until 1932, and didn't return to pre-crash levels until 1954.

The Dow's 52 week high was 14,279.96. Half that number is 7,139.98, a number within reach, maybe even today.

MARKET CLOSING UPDATE: The market opened at 8,568.67 after closing the previous day at 8,579.19. Today's close was 8,462.18. Not too bad. Down by 1.36%.

But the day's range is absolutely WILD 7,882.51-8,897.62, a spread that represents 11.5% of the total value of the Dow. When my son got off the middle school bus at 2:56 it was at about 8,048. When my daughter was supposed get off the bus at 3:35, the market was at about 8,643. Her bus was late. When she got off the bus at about 3:41, the market was at 8,533.

Now go watch the video of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Wild oscillation is a very bad sign:

Meanwhile, today at the McCain campaign:

"There’s very little a candidate for president can say and very little the president can say about what’s happening in the stock markets except hope that they correct themselves," Davis said, adding that McCain's mortgage plan could be an "elixir" for the financial crisis.

Morning after update: A choice quote from a Financial Times article entitled   The week that panic stalked the markets:

“Cascading drops in equity indices are feeding into one another, generating a momentum-driven plunge that has exceeded anyone’s expectations,” said Tobias Levkovich, chief US equity strategist at Citi.