The markets held up well until the last hour, when Former Fed Chairman Allan Greenspan made what some are interpreting as negative comments about Fannie/Freddie and the U.S. economy. Also, remember that this was the final trading day of the month.
Poor economic data in the form of the GDP and jobless claims did not help prior to the open, but mid-morning oil came down and financials rallied, and suddenly the Dow and the S&P were only a few points from going positive.
Mr. Greenspan, in an interview with our Maria Bartiromo, speculated that the U.S. would likely end up nationalizing Fannieand Freddie, and made it clear he was critical of their overall structure, a point he had made in the past. Both closed down about 6 percent.
The popular media will no doubt note that Exxonmade more than$11 billion in profits, and shake their heads in disbelief that anyone could make that much money. What they will not note is that Exxon's earnings were disappointing and the stock closed at a 52-week low because profits are being squeezed on both sides: the lucrative oil production, as well as the refining side.
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