October 14th, 2008
06:30 AM ET

Party like it’s 1929!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/13/art.nyse.up900.jpg]Susan Lisovicz | Bio
CNN Financial Correspondent

Maybe we can finally go back to drinking gin and doing the Charleston. After all, too many market reports that included words like “crash” and “Great Depression,” the bulls stampeded back onto Wall Street and partied like it was 1929.

Did things really change that much since the worst week ever for the Dow Industrials? Well, yes - and no. European leaders said they would guarantee bank debt in another unprecedented effort to free up frozen credit markets. Great Britain said it would spend tens of billions to bail out three of its major banks. The Federal Reserve said it would make available unlimited amounts of money to support three European central banks. “They brought out the heavy artillery,“ said one analyst. And we haven’t even heard from the U.S. Treasury Department and the billions more it’s going to throw down.

But that’s only part of the story. “It was the buying opportunity of a lifetime,” said one trader. So, after dipping below 8,000 on its eighth consecutive sell off Friday… the Dow rocketed well over 9300 Monday. The only fear in the marketplace on this day was the fear of being left out. Morgan Stanley shares soared 87%. But it was still only $18 a share… a third of its 52-week high. G.M. jumped 33%. It’s trading at $6.50, where it was oh, about half a century ago.

So, bottoms up. But given the economy’s shape, there’s a lot of debate as to whether this signifies the market’s bottom.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Susan Lisovicz
October 10th, 2008
09:07 PM ET

Two positions in this market: cash and fetal

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/10/art.japan.markets.jpg caption="Pedestrians watching market information are reflected in an electric signboard in Tokyo, Friday. Japanese shares nose-dived more than 10 percent in morning trade Friday as panicked investors dumped stocks following massive overnight losses on Wall Street and on growing fears over a global recession."]Susan Lisovicz | Bio
CNN Financial Correspondent

What does it say about investor sentiment when –even after seven brutal, consecutive sell-offs, a loss of $2.3 trillion in four trading sessions and G-M shares trading at levels last seen in the early 1950's– that there was a sense of dread about Friday?

Global markets were engulfed in panic. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei recorded its worst week ever, Russia's volatile exchange didn't open and Europe was tanking.

Wall Street provided its own fireworks. The Dow plunged nearly 700 points in seven minutes. But then nearly as quickly, the blue chips crawled back into positive territory. Traders erupted in cheers. They know there's a lot of money on the sidelines and that eventually there will be a floor to the indiscriminate selling. And they will profit from it. But it was a head fake.

Stocks went right back down... and then changed direction nearly a dozen times in a swing of about 1000 points. But the mood lightened up. It was Friday and we were still standing. One veteran joked, "There's two positions to take in this kind of market: cash– and fetal."

There was hope for a G-7 announcement before the closing bell, but the market rallied back repeatedly in the final hour. Going long on a weekend? Going long on a weekend with so much news that comes before the open? Going long on a weekend with so much news coming out before the open in this bear market? Ultimately the answer was no. But the bulls put up a fight. And that was enough for many folks after the Dow's worst week ever.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Global 360° • Susan Lisovicz
October 6th, 2008
09:24 PM ET

Then a funny thing happened...

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/06/art.dow.tenthousand.hat.jpg caption="Trader Arthur Cashin wears a 'Dow 10,000' hat, one that was given out when the Dow Jones Industrial Average first hit 10,000 on March 29, 1999, as he works on the NYSE trading floor Monday."]Susan Lisovicz | Bio
CNN Financial Correspondent

We all knew it was going to be a bad day. A trader was wearing a Dow 10,000 cap before the open. When those hats were passed out a decade ago during the long bull market, every day on the trading floor was like a cocktail party. Now you might as well wear a hard hat the way stocks are falling.

The Dow fell below 10,000 very early into trading. There was some yelling on the floor but it was subdued. Everybody knew there was more to go.

By the afternoon there were fewer than 100 stocks moving higher at the NYSE. 3,100 were selling off. Everybody was wondering if this was going to be The Big One. When the Dow surpassed last Monday's loss, there was much more spirited shouting on the floor. It was 2:45pm, and unless stocks really fell off the cliff, there would be no halt in trading at that late hour.

But then a funny thing happened. Buyers stepped in and traders were disappointed. They wanted to see the big cathartic purge that often establishes a floor to the selling.
It didn't happen today. But we're early into October, a month that has a unique association with falling markets.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Susan Lisovicz