Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Running with the bulls

Quick! Better jump back into the stock market.

Forget the Phillies. How ‘bout dem Bulls? No, not the NBA team. I’m talking about all those Wall Streeters. They were running wild yesterday.

Anybody have any clue what is going on with Wall Street? After a week that can only be described as a time when the Street of Dreams turned into the Street of Nightmares, we’re back on the plus side. Big time.

It was just a few days ago that some were actually telling people who might need cash on the short term to consider getting out of the market altogether.

Yesterday the market exploded. Fueled by word that the U.S. would move to further stabilize banks, Wall Street recovered from its worst week since the Great Depression, in the process going on a 936-point tear.

It was the biggest single-day gain in terms of points in the market’s history. Wall Street, battered by eight consecutive days of staggering losses, gained a lot of it back in one wild day of trading. The Dow wound up 11 percent on the plus side.

It’s a good thing. Last week the markets lost $2.4 trillion in shareholder wealth. Even with the 900-point gain to close at 9,387.61, that’s still a long way from last year’s all-time market high of 14,165.

But it should soothe a lot of jitters, both on Wall Street and on Main Street, as nervous investors fretted over their 401K retirement nest eggs disappearing before their eyes.

And it once again proves something we hear again and again in these instances. If you don’t need your money right away, if you’re beyond a five-year window for retirement, the best thing to do when the market is tanking is usually to do nothing at all.

Let’s just hope the ride continues.

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