by: Ellen Brown
Global Research, August 18, 2011
What just happened in the stock market?
Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose or fell by at least 400 points for four straight days, a stock market first.
The worst drop was on Monday, 8-8-11, when the Dow plunged 624 points. Monday was the first day of trading after US Treasury bonds were downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s.
But the roller coaster actually began on Tuesday, 8-2-11, the day after the last-minute deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling -- a deal that was supposed to avoid the downgrade that happened anyway five days later. The Dow changed directions for eight consecutive trading sessions after that, another first.
The volatility was unprecedented, leaving analysts at a loss to explain it. High frequency program trading no doubt added to the wild swings, but why the daily reversals? Why didn’t the market head down and just keep going, as it did in September 2008?
The plunge on 8-8-11 was the worst since 2008 and the sixth largest stock market crash ever. According to Der Spiegel, one of the most widely read periodicals in Europe:
Many economists have been pointing out that last week's panic resembled the fear that swept financial markets after the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
Then as now, banks stopped lending each other money. Then as now, banks' cash deposits at the central bank doubled within days.
But on Tuesday, August 9, the market gained more points from its low than it lost on Monday. Why? A tug of war seemed to be going on between two titanic forces, one bent on crashing the market, the other on propping it up.
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