Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stock Market Ride Called `Belly Buster' Such Wild Gyrations Not Seen for a While

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stock Market Ride Called `Belly Buster' Such Wild Gyrations Not Seen for a While

Article excerpt

It was the kind of day that makes even the most hardened investor a little queasy.

Already under pressure from a big loss Monday, stock prices rose, then tumbled, then rose again Tuesday to finish higher, changing course with a vigor that market watchers hadn't seen for some time.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the market's most closely watched index, finished with a 9.25-point advance. But that masked a ride that brought the index up 45 points in the first 30 minutes of trading and down 167 by early afternoon.

Many people had trouble keeping up with the action.

"It's up now," said Jimmy Simon, a New Yorker walking out of a Fidelity Investments office in midtown Manhattan late in the afternoon. "Last I heard it was way down."

Concern about corporate profits caused wild gyrations for a second day running. The Dow average tumbled 161 points Monday, and finished Tuesday at 5,358.76. That leaves it about 7.3 percent off the record of 5,778.00 that it set on May 22.

Even the experts had a hard time describing Tuesday's action.

"It's a power-dive belly buster," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at First Albany Corp., a brokerage firm. Asked to explain what that meant, he begged off.

"Is it a correction? Well, that doesn't do it justice," he said. "I have a feeling that if this is a bear market, it will be shorter and quicker than other bear markets."

But, he said, he doesn't feel the decline is steep enough yet to represent a bear market, in which stocks consistently lose value.

The New York Stock Exchange set a record for trading volume, with nearly 683 million shares changing hands. The previous record was 652.8 million shares, set on Dec. 15.

The same went for the Nasdaq Stock Market, which dates from 1971. Volume there set a record of 877.2 million shares, beating the May 7 total of 806.5 million. Its main index finished down 6. …

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