Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wall Street's Grand Collapse

All of the factors that have been beating down the US economy finally came into full focus on Thursday.

From another huge spike in the price of oil, to continuing credit market woes, all the bad news has finally begun to become expressed in terms of market losses.

The Dow crashed below the closing lows of March (12,750) by a wide margin. The S&P 500 closed just 10 points ahead of the March bottom, while the NASDAQ, despite a gargantuan loss, still is well ahead of the March 10 closing low of 1169.

What's driving down stocks today are all the things that drove them to staggering heights from 2003-2007. Massive government budget deficits and a lopsided foreign trade balance have contributed to a weakened US dollar. Easy credit turned the housing and credit markets on their ears. Political waste and corporate corruption that led the way up are now killing the US equity market.

As I have been saying for many months, and especially since August of last year, the profligate spending of the Bush administration coupled with an all-too-compliant congress have led the United States to the brink of economic catastrophe.

We may have reached a point at which there is no bottom to the market. People rich and poor, pension funds, investment trusts and mutual funds have all been battered and the worst may yet be to come.

Dow 11,453.42 -358.41; NASDAQ 2,321.37 -79.89; S&P 500 1,283.15 -38.82; NYSE Composite 8,640.74 -225.06

No sector was safe from the onslaught of selling. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by nearly a 5-1 margin, 5232-1134. There were 756 new lows to just 63 new highs.

Oil reached another record high of $139.64, up $5.09. Gold shot up $22.80 to $915.10. Silver gained 61 cents to $17.22. Despite the outsize gains, the metals are still well off their 52-week highs.

With earnings season just 2 1/2 weeks ahead, markets will not be able to shore themselves up before exceeding even lower lows.

The US economy is dead on its feet and our leaders in government sit idly in stunned silence. It is indeed time for major changes, and nothing could be better for this country than a complete investigation into all of the abuses of the Bush administration, with impeachment as an ultimate goal.

This is what happens when government runs out of control. First, financial markets are shattered. Next, the social fabric will begin to be shredded.

NYSE Volume 1,535,342,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,278,595,000

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