Thanks a lot, Ben!But first, the scoreboard:
Dow: -109, down 1.07%
S&P 500: -14, down 1.28%
NASDAQ: -35, down 1.58%
And now, the top stories:
- Everything was looking pretty much fine in the early going, as investors were still basking in the Apple-scented afterglow of last night’s strong earnings. Decent action in Asia and Europe seemed to help the carry-through.
- And the morning’s earnings were fine (Morgan Stanley and Coke didn’t spook anyone), but at 2:00 — BAM — Bernanke’s testimony to Congress dropped and the verdict was pretty brutal. The market things Bernanke’s too much in the middle: Not willing to sound optimistic, and yet not willing to pull the trigger on any one of his liquidity bullets. Don’t miss: Bernanke’s depressing slides on America’s economy >
- The following testimony (ongoing) didn’t help things. He’s been sounding helpless. He’s acknowledged bullets, but suggested that they could all be blanks that don’t do anything. See Goldman’s prediction for a second-half slowdown >
- In addition to the market downturn, other markets reversed violently. Gold tanked, the dollar surged, and the 10-year bond blew through the roof, so that yields fell below 2.9%, exactly the kind of yield curve flattening that screams “recession” and is hurting the banks trading profits.