October 9th, 2008
08:53 PM GMT
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NEW YORK - One year ago today the Dow hit an all time high above 14,000.  As I write this now, stocks are getting pummeled for the seventh straight day.  The Dow lost nearly 700 points.  The selling was like a tidal wave at the very end of trade.  Few saw it coming.

Earlier today I was down at the New York Stock Exchange and talked to a veteran trader who said there is just no confidence.  Every time someone tries to step in buy, they get their head handed to them. 

He thought part of the problem was the increase of electronic trade.  It used to be that human beings made markets at the New York Stock Exchange and other places.  You could see what was out there.  Who was buying and selling.  Specialists could bring parties together and in some cases stand behind a trade until a fair price was found.  It slowed things down, gave cooler heads a chance to prevail.

Now everything is down by a push of a button.  Things can unravel with lightning speed, which is what happened today.

These kind of furious sell-offs are terrible for confidence.  They spook retail investors, who are already lost trillions in retirement savings.  They scare professionals who can not make educated guesses on risk.  The market will eventually find a bottom, but in the meantime the victims are piling up.

How much have you been impacted?  Are you pulling out of stock markets for good?  

October 9th, 2008
05:55 PM GMT
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland – The credit crisis consuming the island nation of Iceland and its small population has come just as the tourist season slows down heading into winter.But there are real worries that visitors might skip Iceland altogether if their own country dips into recession.

The one bright spot amid this financial mess is that the Icelandic krona has fallen more than 50 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past 12 months.

The manager of the hotel where I am staying says the country can no longer be seen as a high-cost destination.
The tourist board and the tourism ministry held crisis talks today, I have been told. They will get together on Tuesday to agree concrete proposals to lure tourists here.

They already plan to target Christmas tourists from New York and Boston. It's about five hours each way and Iceland hopes Americans will come and try the outdoor spas and see the glaciers and geysers and whales, and do a little shopping.

I just ran into a group of Northern Irish students on a spending binge. They could not believe how far their pound was stretching.

October 9th, 2008
09:54 AM GMT
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LONDON, England - Why do I think there is genuine light at the end of the tunnel?  Because we have at last seen real, genuine policy responses.

Until now governments had done little more than "jawbone" the markets or spend money with increased liquidity.  More of the same, you might say.  But the U.S. bail-out plan, the UK government's bank buy-up, the concerted cut in interest rates are all new, substantial measures.  They are necessary and maybe sufficient to damp down the fires.

I believe more interest rate cuts will be needed to increase consumer confidence ... and I am NOT saying it will be business as usual. More banks will fail or merge; the wider economy will now start to rock like a ship on stormy seas.

We have entered a new phase now when ordinary people will no longer be spectators, but feel the effects through job losses, lower economic activity and reduced living standards. It was inevitable. Don't buy anything from anyone who tells you otherwise.

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