Although the stock market has been volatile all day and for the whole week really. Nothing could prepare investors for what happened beginning around 1:30 p.m., with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 9,208.72. Over the next couple hours, the index fell over 600 points.
All 30 stocks in the Dow were lower. The best performer was IBM, down 1.7% to $89. Big Blue had been up for much of the day after reporting better-than-expected earnings late Wednesday. General Motors was the worst performer, losing almost a third of its share value on fears the company, which is heavily burdened with debt, will not survive the current credit crisis.
If there was any good news on the day, it was the falling price of oil. Crude oil prices fell in after-hours electronic trading to less then $85 a barrel. That was after crude closed in regular trading at $86 1/2, already down 2.7% on the day. Some analysts are predicting the price could break the $80 level in the not to distant future.
Observers believe the affects of the fed bailout will not come soon enough to stabilize the financial system and restore investor confidence in the markets. Investors however seem to believe it will take more time and some apparently were not willing to wait, choosing to sell into the already hemoraging securities markets.