Dog bites man? Stocks get slammed again

The Dow drops 4 percent, closing at another 12-year low. And with good reason, too.

Published March 5, 2009 9:09PM (EST)

General Motors' auditors have "substantial doubts" as to whether the carmaker can continue as a going concern. Citigroup's stock price fell below a dollar per share. The four-week "moving average" of new unemployment insurance claims rose to 641,750, the highest number since October 1982.

So no wonder that the Dow got smacked again, dropping 281 points to 6594.

Only Wal-Mart has any good news to offer and that in itself is also bad news. Americans are hurting so much that Wal-Mart's low prices are the only alternative.

About two hours before the market closed, Felix Salmon wrote that even though stock indexes were plunging, "we're getting headlines, even on the front page of Yahoo Finance, which look for all the world as though nothing is happening at all," and concluded that "This is good news: it means that stock-market volatility is no longer considered particularly newsworthy in and of itself." I think he's speaking way too soon. Another 4 percent drop in the Dow is inevitably going to lead to more cable business news screaming, raised pressure on the Obama administration to do something, anything to stop the slide, and a heightened sense of vulnerability on the part of the general public. I'm not even sure I'd call this "volatility." This is a brutal bear market immaculately reflecting the reality that day by day, the state of the U.S. economy is looking worse and worse.

By Andrew Leonard

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

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