Oh my! Check this out folks:
NEW YORK – Wall Street stumbled again Wednesday, with anxieties about the financial system still running high even after the government bailed out the insurer American International Group Inc. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped about 300 points
The Federal Reserve is giving a two-year, $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a nearly 80 percent stake in the insurer, after it lost billions in the risky business of insuring against bond defaults. Wall Street had feared that the conglomerate, which has its tentacles in various financial services industries around the world, would follow the investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy.
“People are scared to death,” said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management. “Who would have imagined that AIG would have gotten into this position?”
He said the fear gripping the market reflects investors’ concerns that AIG wasn’t able to find a lifeline in the private sector and that Wall Street is now fretting about what other institutions could falter.
The two independent Wall Street investment banks left standing — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley — remain under scrutiny, as does Washington Mutual Inc., the country’s largest thrift bank. Morgan Stanley revealed its quarterly earnings early late Tuesday, posting a better-than-expected 7 percent slide in fiscal third-quarter profit. It insisted that it is surviving the credit crisis that has ravaged many of its peers.
Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, and by late Tuesday had sold its North American investment banking and trading operations to Barclays, Britain’s third-largest bank, for the bargain price of $250 million. Over the weekend, Merrill Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage, sold itself in a last-ditch effort to avoid failure to Bank of America Corp.
The troubles in the financial sector could exacerbate the problems facing the weak U.S. economy, given that individuals and businesses rely on the nation’s money centers.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new home construction fell by 6.2 percent in August to 895,000 units, the slowest building pace since January 1991. Slumping demand for houses, sinking home prices and mortgage defaults have been the catalysts behind Wall Street’s turmoil — and the risky mortgage-backed assets held by the nation’s banks are not apt to regain in value until the housing market turns around.
The Dow fell 298.00, or 2.69 percent, to 10,761.02 a day after Wall Street regained some of Monday’s nosedive, in which the blue chips fell 504 points. The index is down more than 5 percent on the week, and has fallen more than 23 percent since reaching a record close of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9 last year.
Broader stock indicators also plunged. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 42.68, or 3.52 percent, to 1,170.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 76.11, or 3.45 percent, to 2,131.79.
The stock market is likely to see heavy back-and-forth movement as traders continue to assess the flood of news that has poured in over the past several days.
On Monday, the Dow lost 504 points, the largest tumble since its drop following the September 2001 terror attacks. On Tuesday, it rose 141 points, after the Fed decided to leave interest rates unchanged.
“It’s still uncertain ground we’re treading. We just have to move on a daily basis,” said Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.
The government took other measures Tuesday to help alleviate the turmoil in the markets. The Treasury said it will start selling bonds for the Fed to aid it with its lending efforts, while the Securities and Exchange Commission said it will strictly prohibit naked short-selling starting Thursday.
Ok, stop right there! Read that one more time “Securities and Exchange Commission said it will strictly prohibit naked short-selling starting Thursday”
Naked short selling, or naked shorting, is the practice of selling a stock short without first borrowing the shares or ensuring that the shares can be borrowed as is done in a conventional short sale. When the seller does not then obtain the requisite shares, the result is known as a “fail to deliver.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_short_selling)
As you can see the Fed and other government institutions (ie SEC) are trying really hard to stop the deadly spiral that is yet to come – although some would argue that it’s already here. If they fail to calm panicky investors I believe we will see a further fall in the dollar index. Thus the EURO and other majors should rise against the dollar. I’m carefully watching the EUR/USD for a possible long entry (my favorite currency pair to trade) If news reaches traders that other US financial institutions have met the same fate as Lehman Brothers then watch the EUR/USD start heading north towards 1.60 territory once again. This market volatility is either gonna make or break you – time to separate the real men from the boys.
Let’s see what fun stuff comes next. Happy trading everyone.