Where’s the bottom?

Historic Dow Jones and S+P dips

[Click the image to enlarge it.]

That graph shows some perspective. And here’s some reality:

As we all know, yesterday the stock market took anther slide.  I usually hate Associated Press articles because they rarely explain the news well, but yesterday’s short AP piece was, like that graph, a real eye-opener.  It’s like a bad highlights reel:

A relentless sell-off in the stock market Monday blew through barriers that investors hadn’t seen in more than a decade, and experts warned that there is no reason to believe buyers will return anytime soon.

If you think that’s bad, wait!  There’s more!

Investors were worried anew about the stability of the financial system after insurer American International Group posted a staggering $62 billion loss for the fourth quarter, the biggest in U.S. corporate history, and accepted an expanded bailout from the government.

And if you think that’s bad, look at what AIG has burned through so far:

AIG, whose reach is so vast that the government warns that letting it fail would cripple the world financial system, will get another $30 billion in loans on top of the $150 billion already invested by the government.

AIG — who doesn’t produce shit — has received $180 billion in bailout money.  Well howdewyoudew?!  $180 billion with a motherfucking B!  Holy fuckcakes.  And I thought GM, who actually makes something, was asking for a lot.

Back to the markets, reporters are not known for hyperbole , so when they whip out the adjective “breathtaking,” watch out:

The Dow’s descent has been breathtaking. It took only 14 trading sessions for the average to fall from above 8,000 to below 7,000. For the year, the Dow has lost 23 percent of its value.

And if you think that’s bad — or if you really want to see “breathtaking” — just wait a week:

And coming later this week is big and unnerving data. The government on Friday will report the national unemployment rate and job losses for February. Those figures have been worse month after month.

In a related article, if you expect consumer spending to get us out of this mess, keep dreaming:

With workers worried about losing their jobs, the personal savings rate jumped to 5 percent in January, the highest since 1995. The total saved during the month — $545.5 billion — represented the largest amount on records that go back 50 years, though the dollar totals are not adjusted to reflect inflation.

So, yeah.  I’m not quite sure what more editorial spin I can put on numbers that speak for themselves.

People will draw their own conclusions from this.  I think the biggest questions to ask are “Where’s the bottom?” and “Can we identify what the bottom is before hitting it, thereby avoiding it?”  And is it too alarmist to say that, in the future, history may reveal that we’re looking at a crisis a lot larger than the Great Depression?

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