Street Signs

CNBC's Schacknow: All "Deked" Out But Nowhere To Go


Waiting Room: The rush to get breaking news on the air is one big, stress-filled, exciting adrenaline rush. A logical person (i.e. one who does not work in television) would think that if you know in advance that something might break at a given time, that makes life easier.

Well, in many ways it does, but it sometimes can drag into an arduous wait. Sometimes for naught! We knew that the Icos Corp. shareholders would be voting today on a proposed but controversial takeover by Eli Lilly , sometime after 2 pm ET. The two companies are already partners in marketing the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, but some large Icos shareholders had criticized the $2.28B bid as being too low.

I got together with Pharmaceuticals Reporter Mike Huckman and "Street Signs" Producer Mike Cahill and we came up with a plan: If Icos rejected the bid, we’d get Mike up to the Breaking News Desk to do a report. If not, we’d just put up “alert” dekos and let it go at that.

We prepared stock charts, file tape, and dekos for the special report just in case it happened, but as is often the case when you’re ready for anything, most of it went unseen by viewers. Icos shareholders approved the deal and we had to look elsewhere for our daily fix.

But We Didn’t Have To Look Far: At about the same time our well laid plans for Icos were being rendered unnecessary, the stock market’s slide accelerated - pushing the Dow down more than 100+ points, just a day after it set new all time intraday and closing highs.

When this happens, show producers call out to the Breaking News desk for market factoids they can put on the air. Luckily, thanks to the handy Excel spreadsheet we keep around for such emergencies we were able to determine some significant ones rather quickly: that this is (at this writing) the biggest one-day drop for the Dow and the S&P since November 27th, and that only three of the 30 Dow stocks were trading higher.

I happen to love these little factoids, not just because I’m a numbers junkie, but also because they provide some good perspective for investors. I also keep track of other things mostly for my own amusement, because you never know when someone will ask. For instance: the Dow is up 11.3% since the day of the most recent Fed rate hike on June 29th, 2006. Who cares? Well today, no one - but boy, will they be impressed if they DO ask me and I know it instantly.