According to final figures on Friday, the S&P 500 ended down 2.66%, edging out last Thursday's 2.64% drop for the second worst day in the S&P 500 since early 2003. The NASDAQ was down 2.51%; the Dow was down "only" 2.09%.
That means that for the year the S&P 500 is up only 1%, while the NASDAQ is up 4%, and the Dow is up 5.7%.
Looking back, the pattern of big down days over the last two weeks happens more often near market bottoms than market tops. In the past, when such a pattern has occurred after big runups in the market, sometimes it signals a temporary top (1987). Sometimes it signals a buying opportunity in an up market (1998).
Some commentators on TV have pushed for Fed Chair Bernanke to take a page from Greenspan's response to a similar mini-crisis in 1998, meeting with experts to assess the problems and assuring the markets that liquidity would be available if needed. As it now stands, the Fed still has an official slight bias toward fighting inflation by leaning toward tightening, though in action it is neutral. Most expect the Fed at least to go neutral officially next week, perhaps to a stated bias toward easing, though to do essentially nothing significant about interest rates in response to the spreading credit crunch.
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