Following the longest shutdown since the Great Depression, neither a surprise 0.5% rate cut by the Federal Reserve, nor company buybacks, patriotic buying and bargain hunting could staunch the flow of capital exiting the equity markets.
The market fluctuated throughout the day, the Dow Jones falling almost 600 point on opening before stabilizing at a loss of 460 points and then going lower in mid-afternoon trading and reaching a record intraday decline of 721 – a fall not seen since April 2000. At market close,
- the Dow Jones had fallen by 684 points
- the Nasdaq was down by 115 points, and
- the S&P 500 slipped by 53 points.
The sell-off however was widely anticipated with the market already weakened by profit warnings, earnings disappointments, and economic data pointing towards a recession.
Some sectors were worse hit than others. As expected technology, insurance and airline stocks took the biggest hits, with some names falling as much as 70%.
On the flipside, companies involved in the data storage or disaster recovery industry were buoyed by bets that last weeks events would give their bottom lines a boost.
Interestingly one of the stocks that showed a significant increase was Blockbuster Video, buyers reasoning that they company’s profitability would be boosted by the fallout of the attack – more Americans staying at home with their families and avoiding public places.