On Wednesday chatter on the Street had everything to do with the stock market wiping out gains for 2011.
Not only did the S&P 500 turn negative for the year but that Nasdaq did too, with investors fearing that the crisis in Japan could generate ripples far and wide.
The whoosh lower began after the European Union's energy commissioner said, "In the coming hours, there could be further catastrophic events, which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island." Later those comments were downplayed.
”That comment took the Dow 200 points lower in a snap,” says Jon Najarian on CNBC’s Fast Money.
Fast trader Guy Adami thinks the sell-off was coming any way. “The move may have been exacerbated but the market was going this way before Japan,” he says.
Looking forward, Adami thinks the path of least resistance is lower. He says the next key level to watch on the S&P is 1242. “– I think the market is now broken, structurally. But that doesn’t mean the market is going straight down.”
Meanwhile fear surged on the Street, with the Vix making its biggest percentage gain since Feb. 22. At 29.31, Wall Street's so-called fear index is up more than 46 percent this week.
Fast trader JJ Kinahan has noticed a lot of call buying in the Vix. That suggests at least some investors think fear in the market could get even worse.
Uncertainty about Japan drove investors to seek safer assets like bonds. Joe Terranova says that the only safe haven appears to be Treausrys.