Stock Market Suffers Crisis of Confidence

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The Dow today fell 268.22 points, to 9870.30, while the S&P hit a new 2010 closing low of 1041.25. Why so glum, markets? As usual, fear. Fear of weakening growth in China. Fears about Europe making a mess of itself. Fear of the massive debt everyone in the U.S is carrying around like hermit crabs carry their shells. Fear of Paul Krugman, and fear of a report by the Conference Board, a private research group, which said today its index of consumer confidence for June dropped to 52.9 compared with the 62.7 seen in May.

"Increasing uncertainty and apprehension about the future state of the economy and labor market, no doubt a result of the recent slowdown in job growth, are the primary reasons for the sharp reversal in confidence," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Until the pace of job growth picks up, consumer confidence is not likely to pick up."


But of course, until consumer confidence picks up, job growth won't pick up ... Low self-esteem: As any pimply teenager will tell you, it's a vicious cycle.

FearReturns for Quarter's Final Act [WSJ