Sometimes you have to chase the news, but sometimes the news chases you. It was our affiliate, WNBC-TV, which first put together the story that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry system had suffered a massive outage overnight -- leaving users all over the Western Hemisphere without instant access to e-mail messages.
But even before that, the many CNBC users of the BlackBerry devices suspected something was wrong. I don’t want to say that we send each other massive amounts of e-mail -- but I must, because we do. And there’s plenty more from the outside world. When that flow suddenly stops, it’s quite noticeable.
If a story has nearly universal appeal to the CNBC audience, this one was it. Luckily, we found a few primitive devices like telephones around the newsroom, and managed to rouse tech reporter Jim Goldman in time for "Squawk Box." We also sent him e-mail, which is likely appearing on his BlackBerry, oh, just about now.
We often try to have already-scheduled guests comment on various breaking news stories when it’s appropriate, and, needless to say, we had no problem getting CEOs, analysts, and others business executives to let us know how the BlackBerry outage was affecting them.
I’m the last guy to spoil a good market party, but as the keeper of market factoids, it was unusual to see the Dow reach a record high, yet have two-thirds of the Dow components trading lower.
Three Dow stocks more than pulled their weight: Boeing, J.P. Morgan Chase and Caterpillar accounted for more than 50 positive Dow points all by themselves, while only IBM had a big negative pull -- to the tune of about 20 points.
This gets back to a subject that’s been discussed for decades: the idea that many individual investors think of “the Dow” and “the market” as the same. With only 30 stocks, they obviously aren’t.
No disrespect to the Industrial Average, which will undoubtedly outlive all of us. But if you need some bullish bullet points, the S&P 500 (6.5-year high) and the Russell 2000 (up about 5% for 2007) shouldn’t be ignored.
And we also shouldn’t forget that the Nasdaq is only HALF of what it was at its March 2000 peak. So follow and celebrate the Dow to your heart’s content... Just don’t ignore the big picture.