Wall St. sheds its tears

In the wake of yesterday’s election, Wall Street had its temper tantrum today, closing down more than 300 points in one of the worst days in years. Analysts tend to make these things up as they go but they’re blaming it on several factors such as four more years of fiscal policies, the coming “fiscal cliff,” Europe’s debt, and the poor play of the New York Jets.

T. Boone Pickens told CNBC that the financial markets thought Mitt Romney would win, a fairly interesting comment considering the markets are all about numbers and Nate Silver seems to master them better than the smart people who are in a business that’s all about numbers.

But none of the factors dragging down Wall Street today should have been any mystery to any investor yesterday, but the market is an emotional thing to begin with.

How does today’s financial self-flagellation compare? It was the second worst post-election market sell-off since the 1940s, the worst was when Obama was elected in 2008. But that sell-off didn’t come the day after the election; it came two days after the election, and a day after it shot up almost 300 points. How do these predictions work out?

Date      Winner Dow open Dow close % Diff % Diff 4 years later
11/7/2012 Obama 13245.68 12932.73 -2.4%
11/5/2008 Obama 9625.28 9139.27 -5.0% 41.5%
11/2/2004 Bush 10053.87 10035.73 -0.2% -8.9%
11/8/2000 Bush 10954.34 10907.06 -0.4% -8.0%
11/6/1996 Clinton 6081.18 6177.71 1.6% 76.6%
11/4/1992 Clinton 3252.48 3223.04 -0.9% 91.7%
11/2/1988 Bush 2150.96 2156.83 0.3% 49.4%
11/7/1984 Reagan 1244.15 1233.22 -0.9% 74.9%
11/5/1980 Reagan 950.34 953.16 0.3% 29.4%
11/3/1976 Carter 964.93 956.53 -0.9% -0.4%