It was a bad day, but you wouldn't know it from watching the action.
Idle traders seemed more interested in watching Bernie Madoff motor around midtown Manhattan than tracking the slow decline in the market.
Stocks hit their lows an hour after the market opened and remained there for most of the day.
Volume was again moderate (though a bit higher than in the last few weeks), and at 9-1 advancing/declining stocks we just barely missed one of those 90 percent downside days that were so common in the fourth quarter.
Financials were again the weak spot, leading the market lower as the Bank Index finally broke through its old November lows.
JP Morgan will report tomorrow; most analysts now expect the bank to post a loss amid a significant increase in credit costs and more reserve building. Lots of interest in what is buried in the old Washington Mutual.
Citigroup , which dropped 23 percent and also moved its earnings report up, cannot get a break: the Street never like it when it ran on the "supermarket" model, and now that that model is being dismantled, the Street still doesn't like it.
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