Last fall, when the "How low can it go?" refrain filled the airwaves and news pages, there was considerable sentiment about the Dow bottoming out in the 7000-7500 range. That would have been close to half its all-time high, which to some was an impossible scenario to imagine. Well, they're right - the bottom won't be 7000-7500, but some level even lower. Maybe a lot lower. The Dow lost 250 points on Monday, closing at its lowest level since May 7, 1997. But that's not the worst of it. Nor is it that no one has the first clue about when the bottom might be reached. The worst of it is that Obama’s crew really seems adrift. Either they don't know what to do or they're afraid of the political consequences. Neither is very encouraging. From the NYT:
Analysts said that after fevered speculation last week about bank nationalization, many investors now expect the government to move in that direction, despite statements from the White House supporting a privately held banking system. Stock markets dropped on Friday amid concerns that a broad government takeover could wipe out financial shareholders. Now, with the government set to begin the “stress tests” on Wednesday, investors want to know which banks will be deemed healthy and which will not, analysts said. Of most pressing concern are big banks including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, followed by regional chains.
The only hope is that the markets might finally be losing hope – often the sign that a turnaround is near.