I know I have mentioned before that I don't understand even the basics of the stock market and so I keep my total, accumulated wealth - $12.73 - in my checking account at Burke & Herbert bank in Alexandria, Virginia which is the functional equivalent of burying it in a coffee can under the back porch. If I had a back porch which, because I live in a town house, I don't.
A couple of weeks ago, the Dow Jones Industrial average dropped about 1,000 points in a matter of minutes. It recovered about 700 points over the next half hour but still lost 342 points for the day. It was all over the news. You might have seen it.
CNBC, which is what I watch when there are no Law & Order: SVU or NCIS reruns on USA, had a guy on as the market was recovering from that May 6 collapse, who said that he runs a hedge fund and - I'm doing this from memory so the details might be wrong but the concept is correct - said that his fund has enough computing power, and a big enough pipe to the internet, so that their machines can track up to one million potential trades … per second.
Oh, yeah. I can stand at my kitchen counter waiting for the markets to open, coffee on the counter, Wall Street Journal opened to the Markets section, number 2 pencil in hand, cell phone at the ready and compete with a guy who can track a million trades per second, right?
Yesterday the Dow lost 376 points to close at 10,068 with the losses accelerating toward the end of the trading day. CNN wrote that that loss was the Dow's
"biggest one-day point loss since February 10, 2009. Thursday's point loss was the biggest one-day percentage loss since March 5 of 2009."
March 5, 2009 was when everything was still George W's fault.
The 3.6 percent drop can't be blamed on the surprisingly bad unemployment report that had been released at 8:30 yesterday morning: The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment rose last week to 471,000 from 446,000 the prior week. Economists had expected claims to fall to 439,000. The futures were down 150 points three hours before the open.
You can blame about half the loss on the news that the Senate had voted to break the filibuster on what has become known as the "finreg" bill - "finreg" being hip-hop-short-hand for Financial Regulation which is far too long in this age of A-Rod and Jay-Lo. Last night the Senate passed the bill 59-39.