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To find an answer, you have to look back to the Nasdaq circa 2003.
The stock market is no longer like a falling knife. It's become a whole drawer full of flying cutlery.
The House's vote Friday on the $700 billion financial bail out package hangs over a market increasingly worried the credit crunch is stalling the economy.
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The Senate's approval of the $700 billion financial markets bail out package should give stocks a short-term shot of confidence.
Once more, it's the noise coming from Washington Wednesday that could drive markets. Hope that the bill would be resuscitated before the end of the week is sending stocks higher.
Tuesday promises more treachery for investors as they navigate markets held captive by politicians and the promise of a rapidly faltering economy.
The House rejected the Wall Street bailout bill and the market screamed, selling off frantically until the Dow was left with its biggest one-day point drop ever. "This is panic and ... fear run amok," Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research told CNBC. "Right now we are in a classic moment of a financial meltdown," he said.
It was bailout or bust for the markets , but now that Congress has reached agreement on the $700 billion package the focus will shift to the weak economy.
The state of the financial markets' bailout and the credit crunch are dual concerns for investors in the week ahead.
Wall Street's wild ride promises to continue as Congress wrangles over details of a financial markets bailout, and investors assess the government-brokered deal for Washington Mutual.
It's never pretty on Wall Street when the action in Washington rules the markets. That's certainly been the case this week, while Congress wrestles with the merit and shape of the $700 billion financial markets rescue package, proposed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson
Stocks got an early boost from Buffett's vote of confidence in Wall Street but the meandering hearings on the bailout sucked the air out of the trading floor. By the closing bell, financials had fallen and only techs were left carrying the torch of hope.
Stocks made a modest advance Wednesday, boosted by Buffett's investment in Goldman Sachs and optimism that a bailout could boost tech spending.
Warren Buffett is driving the latest ambulance to show up on Wall Street, and his first aid may in fact give a boost of confidence to the market and Washington's rescue process.
The scorching volatility ripping through financial markets is not likely to let up while details of the government's rescue plan are being worked out.
Some traders think this might be a good day to spend on the sidelines. Not Scott Black. He says investors should snap up value stocks -- right away.
For the historic week ending Friday, September 19, 2008, the major U.S. Indices managed to close mixed and almost flat after one of the most volatile trading weeks ever, driven by the collapse of investment bank, Lehman Brothers, enormous government actions around the globe, and billion dollar deal making. In one week, the government bailed out AIG, pumped funds into money markets, and banned short selling of financials - all while keeping the Fed Funds target unchanged and taking unprecedented actions to halt the liquidity crisis. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) surpassed the benchmark level of 30, hitting an intraday high of 42.16 on Thursday, its highest level since 10/2002. The major indices were all up and down +/- 3% for 4 of the past 5 days. The Dow posted a 2 day point move of more than 778 points as of Friday’s close, after plummeting 811 between Monday and Wednesday and hitting 10,609.66, its lowest level since 11/9/2005. On Friday, The Nasdaq Composite recorded a 2-day point move of greater than 175 points after it closed down 109.05 points on Wednesday, its first triple digit decline for one day since it began trading after the 9/11 attacks. The S&P 500 flirted with record territory closing up 98.7 over the last two days, marking its biggest 2-day point move since 3/16/2000, the largest 2-day point move ever.
Where there was dread, there's now a ray of hope: At least that's how some traders were talking at the end of the day Thursday, after the stock market rocketed 300 points in the final hour, the mirror opposite of Wednesday's frightening performance. Going into Friday, traders say there may be some positive follow-through, based on the course of news from Washington overnight.
The Dow surged higher on Thursday on optimism about a possible government resolution to the financial crisis. But the traders might have found the next shoe to drop.