Stock market freefall continues

Trader Michael Milano (right) works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, a day when all the major U.S. stock indexes saw sharp drops.
(Photo: Richard Drew/AP)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from 26,616.71 to 23,849.93 in two weeks, but cable TV news channels spent more time reporting on a wife-beating White House staffer who resigned over charges that his security clearance failed to pass muster.

The stock market went on a wild ride Tuesday, after closing down 1,175 points on Monday, setting a new records for the Dow Jones industrial average’s worst point drop in history. At one point Monday afternoon, the Dow was down 1,579 points — the largest intraday point drop in the history of the index.

On Tuesday, the market regained close of half of Monday’s loss, but Wednesday the market ended down again and stock prices fell sharply Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling more than 1,000 points.

The latest decline sets prices back to the level that preceded the passage of the Republicans tax bill in December, which handed corporations and super wealthy individuals a hefty savings funded by an increase in the national debt.

Worries about future inflation and rising interest rates weighed on the market along with a realization that incompetent leadership in the White House presents clear vulnerabilities to the economy.

The market meltdown is a signal that bad times lie ahead but it seems as if nobody is paying attention.

Television news reports focus on meaningless chatter about rumored sex scandals and allegations of domestic violence that prompted the resignation of one White House aide.

The Dow closed in negative territory for the year, with some observers bracing for a continued decline while television news pundits speculate about gossip quality stories instead of facts and meaningful events that are hiding in plain sight.

“Investors were dumping out of stocks,” NPR’s Uri Berliner reports. “They were in free fall, something we’ve seen very little of during the steady bull market since basically 2009. And now we’re seeing nerves in the market — some fear.”

The previous largest point drop for the Dow was 778 points in September 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis.

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