Friday, May 7, 2010

Repeat after me: "Hi. Welcome to Wal-Mart."

I don't know about your part of the world, but around here, after the events of Monday, Tasered is now an adjective that is part of our everyday speech. Sadly, it isn't yet part of Blogger's spell check dictionary.
Yesterday, the stock market was Tasered a little before 3:00pm when it fell a whopping 600 points only to recover to a loss of around 350.
Earlier, sources told Reuters that the plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial average may have been caused by an erroneous trade entered by a person at a big Wall Street bank.
Market sources said the erroneous trade may have involved E-Mini contracts -- stock market index futures contracts that trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's Globex trading platform. The composition of the E-Mini is similar to the stocks in the S&P 500.
So there you go. Your financial future hinges on something that sounds like a convenience store chain - the E-Mini. I'd like to have something a little more stable to put my savings into, but we're stuck with this flawed system. The stock market is like a newborn baby. Everything that happens is potentially dangerous and you have to be very careful when you're around it because you don't want to do anything that will stunt its growth. I'd prefer an adult with a job and a stable lifestyle.
During the sell-off, Procter & Gamble shares dropped nearly 34%. As far as I know, nobody slipped on a bar of Ivory soap, choked on Scope or failed to wipe up a spill with a Bounty paper towel. It was the same company it was at lunch time, only some goofy trade on a network nobody understands turned the stock into a tailspin. The upside, if there is one, is that there are a lot of solid values on the stock market to be had if you have any cash that hasn't been spent on gasoline, property taxes or cable TV.
If you have a 401(k) or some other retirement investment, you might want to wait a few weeks to check the balance, or hope that your plan buys on Monday or have bond investments or start putting applications in at McDonald's or the local Wal-Mart store so you can earn some extra cash in your "golden years."
That's what I'm thinking.

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