The view from the ledge


The stock market, you may have heard or felt in your portfolio, is having a lousy time of it.

The last time I checked, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 372 points to stand at 11,501. That’s a big drop, of course. The Dow is down more than 1,000 points from its recent high, which means you don’t want to be hitting “one step update” on Quicken anytime soon. Oh, and you don’t want to retire.

Clearly, there’s lousy economic news to feed the bear. But the “lousy economic news” is also a media narrative that creates even more lousy economic news. To feed the narrative, you have to work harder for new angles to explain just how lousy the economy is. That’s simply the way it works in the news business.

That’s not saying things aren’t lousy; they obviously are.

But you see that picture up there? We’re using it to accompany the story today about how lousy things are and it’s clearly captioned as a file photo from May 25, 2010 (No sense buying a new one; all pictures of stock market traders look the same). Things were perceived as lousy on that date, too, apparently.

Those panicked traders had no idea what August 4, 2011 would bring. On May 25, 2010, the Dow lost 22 points and closed about 1,500 points lower than it will today.

Everyone come in off the ledge. There’s something terribly wrong if I’m the half-full guy around here.