Dow down 300 in early trading

A bad start to a Monday -- investors do not like the morning headlines.

Published September 15, 2008 2:07PM (EDT)

The astrologers of Wall Street were nervous all day Sunday and into the wee hours of Monday morning. A weekend of unprecedented calamities had those who like to bet on "Dow futures" -- basically a contract speculating on what might happen to the Dow Jones industrial average once markets actually open -- predicting a drop of 300 points or more.

Not bad -- 35 mintes after the bell rang, the Dow was down over 300 points.

It will be a long day. Some analysts think that the Fed's decision not to bail out Lehman Brothers is a sign that the "end game" of the financial crisis is finally upon us. Now we will find out the truth about what all the bad debt held by investors is really worth. They take heart in the fact that despite the multiple traumas involving Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and insurance giant AIG, the Fed did not announce yet another emergency rate cut.

But no one has a good sense of how the market will react to the liquidation of one of Wall Street's titans -- Lehman Brothers. Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson may have drawn a line in the sand on Sunday -- this far we will bail out and no farther -- but that was yesterday. If the market falls far enough, new lines will get drawn, in a hurry.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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