Bernanke Cuts Interest Rate; Dow Drops, Goes Up Again

Wall Screwed
Photo: Photo Illustration: Getty Images

After a fraught holiday weekend in which the European and Asian stock markets dropped in response to Wall Street's weakened state, and the nation grew near-hysterical with recession fears, the Fed finally stepped in this morning with an unprecedented eleventh-hour rate cut, to 3.5 percent. But was it too little too late? At first it appeared to be so: In the first half-hour of trading this morning, the Dow was down by 450 points. Now it's hovering around 300, and analysts on CNN are encouraging a glass-half-full attitude. "This is not the biggest market drop ever, this is a steep drop and it's coming after a couple weeks of steep drops," one just said. "For the market to even close, to halt trading, we would have to see a drop of 1,350 points in the Dow Industrials." Still, Asian and European markets remain volatile — and skeptical. "The dramatic reduction in the cost of money sends another worrying message to the markets," London's Daily Telegraph wrote this morning. "It says things are really looking very ropey indeed for the U.S. and by extension the global economy."