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Closing Bell: 08.21.07

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August officially started today in the markets. The major stock indexes spent much of the day unmoved. By the closing bells, the Dow ended down, the S&P and Nasdaq Composite up, while a slight majority of stocks traded on the NYSE ended up. The yields on treasuries, which went hog wild yesterday, seemed to yield to pressure from everyone and anyone trying to ease the so-called “liquidity crisis.” The Vix was still high but way down from last Thursday’s high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 30.49 to close at 13090.86. The S&P 500 climbed a bit, adding 1.57 to reach 1447.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index was moved up 12.71 to 2521.30. Like we said, it was a day in August.
The executive and legislative branches of the federal government did their best to compromise the independence of the Federal Reserve, with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson appearing on CNBC prior to a meeting with Ben Bernanke and Senator Chris Dodd holding a press conference immediately after. Messages from the politicians: we care. And we’re going to make sure these fellas at the Fed do too.
Some at the Fed didn’t get the message. Or perhaps inconsistency is the new message. Or maybe independence. Richmond Fed chief Jeffrey Lacker, a noted inflation hawk, said inflation hawkish things and pointed out that the Fed’s job was not responding to fluctuations in the financial markets. Message from the Fed: we might care, we might not. You report. We decide.
Market intelligence, made fresh daily, at FT Alphaville.