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Ear to the Ground

Dow and Out on Wall Street

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Posted on Feb 23, 2009
collage: Flickr (epicharmus) / Google

The Dow hasn’t been this low since “Titanic” won Best Picture, appropriately enough. Investors, apparently convinced the worst is yet to come, sent stocks tumbling to a 12-year low on Monday. The Dow sank to a depth of 7114.78.

AP via Google:

Wall Street has turned the clock back to 1997. Investors unable to extinguish their worries about a recession that has no end in sight dumped stocks again Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 251 points to its lowest close since Oct. 28, 1997, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index logged its lowest finish since April 11, 1997.

All the major indexes slid more than 3 percent. The Dow is just over 100 points from 7,000.

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By Max Obrien, June 7, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

So far the closest to Armageddon that Wall Street has encountered is the exposure of Bernie Madoff’s gargantuan Ponzi scheme, and that is but the tip of the iceberg when you compare it to the debts that the country has put itself in. When banks and financial institutions collapse, the government can support you, but a government chest deep in debt with a half dead economy clinging onto its shoulders – that sounds more down and out than anything else!

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By Kevin, January 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two years later, with Obama in the white house, the dow has climbed from a low of 6626 to 11807.  So much for the collapse and armageddon…

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By Bertil, February 25, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

The Wall Street Armageddon is the scare tactic that Paulson and Bush used to ram through the TARP bill.  The question, I think, is how long will that work?  The “Well, we’re here now..” argument seems to work well for the wars, but how long will Chicken Licken’ believe that the sky is falling in?

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By Ed, February 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bummer, eh? Looks like the MBAs stripped the U.S. and there’s not much to invest in that will bring you those quick bucks. Too bad those “best and brightest” are trapped in dead end ideas about pushing paper and doing nothing real.

When us Commies take-over we’re gonna shut down the business schools. We’ll educate scientists, doctors and engineers. Capitalists are too corrupt to lead and religious people are too stupid to make policy.

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By Old Ed Of The Delta, February 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

The Wall Street Armageddon

The whole banking system is controlled by a few conglomerates on a world wide basis. Like it or not this is the way it is.

The banks here in the USA are just too important to let fail. If the US government just backed out of any rescue plan and let nature take its course, the whole system would collapse.

Wall Street would be completely out of business and commerce as we know it would come to a halt. You would witness people jumping out of windows and committing suicide.

People would be without electricity, potable water, sewage disposal and transportation in many parts of the country. This could lead to communicable deceases that would put an unimaginable strain on our health systems. Public schools would be closed along with the judicial system as we know it.

Panic could sweep through the United States to the point one would need armed escorts to go shopping at the grocery store for the few items available at any price. 

The issue of bailing out the financial institutions and the corporations is just too dangerous to mishandle. These entities are TOO BIG to let fail! If we let even one system fail we run the risk of a financial cataclysmic domino effect and the chance of starvation, malnutrition and families sleeping on the streets.

Society will put up with any regime that brings some form of order that will enable the citizens the necessities of life even on a primitive basis.

What’s next? Civil War!

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By Hulk2008, February 24, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

The Stock Market has been proven totally irrational - exposed for what it really is:  a Madoff Ponzi scheme foisted on the rest of society by runaway marketeers.  Remember the phony ads for the first IBM PC?  (...a Charlie Chaplin mime tapping away on a keyboard and thereby solving all of life’s problems ?)  The stock market and the PC were over-sold - both “boxes” mostly empty on the inside but puffed up by magazines and media and politicos.  The Market satisfied business managers who swapped out defined benefit pensions for their employees and swapped in the all-too-hollow 401k plans to replace them.  Those of us who invested either pre-tax or post-tax dollars were successfully hoodwinked.  Ask yourself what percentage of those in the financial world who lost their bonuses - then compare that with the percentage of workers who have lost their 401k shirts. 
At the same time, notice that life and health “insurers” continue to reap huge profits (a paper contract cannot literally “insure”, assure, or ensure a person’s life or health.)  Almost as profitable as oil income, right?

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By Purple Girl, February 24, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I fa kid keeps spilling their milk, you either get them a sippy cup or you just take it away!
Same goes for WallStreet.
Remove all Essential products from the market- food Energy, finance and leave them to speculate on IPhones and Cosmetics
Otherwise Shut the game Down everytime a national Adult discussion must be had to resolve the shit they have fucked up!
And as for nationizing the Banks- so be it. But not to turn around and hand it back to them- Like another full Glass of milk, just like this one we are now trying to clean up!
My mother had a great way of putting my Cry Babiness into perspective…‘Stop crying or I’ll give you something to REALLY cry about!’...I was one more crocodile tear from getting my ass smacked.Wall streeter should bear that in mind- We are sick of listening to them whine and watching our retirment funds plummet on the Boo Woo-O-Meter!
Frankly I would like to see these CEO’s and their Boardmembers be sent over to their foreign investors to face charges of Fraud and Embezzlement. I’m betting the Chinese and the Saudi’s ‘laws’ are not as forgiving as ours, nor their prisons (should they make it that far) as Hospitable.

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By M.B.S.S., February 24, 2009 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/02/bear-market-comparisons-1929-2009/

polarbear52 Says:
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:08 pm

“That chart is nothing. The plunging value of the USD over the last 7 yrs vs the metal of kings masks the true damage. Run a ratio chart using the Dow vs Gold over similar time periods. The mkt will bottom when the Dow to Gold ratio is less than 5, but more likely closer to 2 or 3.  The bear market started in 2000, but Mr. Bubbles fooled 99% of the investors with his easy money policy. The good part is that we are half way through the bear cycle.”

if people think that the dow/gold ratio will hit four or five then we are looking at a dow in the 4,000’s

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By Verne Arnold, February 23, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a link to Frontline (NPR)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/view/

Excellent and informative time line of the ongoing melt down.

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By CJ, February 23, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

“Nowhere to hide anymore,” might be key phrase in this piece. Or not yet.

The worst part is that big investors have been in process of wiping out small investors, mostly out of cowardice when one gets down to it. Wall Street, despite myth, is not exactly home to the brave. The investor class tends to cowardice. No matter cheap talk of “risk taking.” Big investors don’t risk. “Risk” is for small timers, though you won’t hear THAT from Trump or Buffett. (Their idea of broke is when only worth 10 mil or so.)

So big investors ruin small (involuntary) investors with their sandbox play. (There’s a piece posted on Bernie Madoff that’s way too long to actually read at New York Magazine. Madoff’s not worth eight pages. Though he has become celeb in a celeb-driven culture. Maybe that was his plan. Anyway, one reason Madoff made out so well was because he conned on a large enough scale.) 

I love market speak/lingo: “Declining issues outnumbered advancers…,” and “The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price…” I actually watch CNBC sometimes just to get an earful, which is at least semi-entertaining from time to time. “The dollar was mixed…” All this kind of talk sounds erotic.

Then there’s, “’There’s no main driver of the down day,’ said Ryan Detrick,” etc., etc.

Yes there is. PANIC!, though most of the time—during dog days—“driver” is simply profit-taking, which is after all pretty much the entire point. Media is everywhere on the floor of the NYSE talking of how this or that drove market up or down. They have no idea but have to say something. They have to issue (speaking of issues) some kind of explanation, as though the market really were driven by coldly rational calculation and not almost purely by emotion. There are giddy days and bummer days, man. Well, more bummer for smaller investors, aforementioned involuntary investors about 98% of whom were long ago deprived of pension plans as they were offered alternative: 401(k) plans, dreamed up, rather schemed up, by government in collusion with big biz. Company matching seemed pretty neat to labor, though turned out a swindle good only for majority shareholders.

George Will got one thing right yesterday, when he spoke of 300 million culprits. Krugman threw in with that, adding 300 million more Europeans. All 600 million of whom bought into swindle over many years. (Compared to the investor class, Bernie Madoff really is teensy-time, petty crook.)

I note discussion in this piece of nationalizing of banks, something even extremist right by now favors doing. (Fascism DOES incorporate something like nationalization, especially when in the interest of nation regarded as organism.)

But not quite mere fascist nationalization of banks, since idea touted is that nationalization would be temporary. After taxpayers foot bills for revival by restructuring/reconditioning/refurbishing/renaming, institutions would be sold back to (presumably preferred) investors, who’d be same who ran the scam into the ground in the first place. (I also love talk of so-called “moral hazard.”) Risk? What risk? For whom? Only for same ole, same ole who’ve always paid the price.

One day scam will finally collapse if not quite this time. But thanks to all you really sociopathological (not Madoff) big-time investors who keep on keepin’ on producing wreckage every time ya’ll panic in the face of so much as the possibility having to endure a moment of actual risk.

So much for claim to the rational society that is also claimed to be political democracy.

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By G.Anderson, February 23, 2009 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Actually there are several predictions that the Dow will go below 3,000. Some have even suggested that it will go to zero.

Essentially we have become an Empire of debt, and now that debt is worthless because no one wants to buy it. American Express is paying customers $300 dollars to cancel their cards.

It’s not really about confidence at all, its about just having enough money to feed yourself and nothing else.

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By Bertil, February 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

And it’s going lower.  To around 5000.  What we’re losing is the heady froth of phantom wealth.
Here’s to the high ‘n mighty!

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By konnie, February 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

don’t care.  for the first time in decades it isn’t about the vampires on wall street.  its about JOBS
JOBS JOBS.  its about working people.  its about towns and neighborhoods.  its sticking a finger in
the eye of the greedy bastard that got his and said
screw you.  there was a time when there was only louis reykeser (sp) and only the cfo got a copy of the journal.  news programs told you the dow numbers,
and moved on. it was the advent of those damm 401k’s and the 80’s greed that gave us 24/7 financial information like it was the word of God! whole networks dedicated to greed, and not one word about
workers losing their jobs, whole towns desimated by
off shoring and outsourcing. so damm them all, i hope those suckers have to hock the silver in their fillings.

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