Dow Diary: Bots + Banks = Bad Business

Dear Diary,

Another lackluster day — and I’m not just talking about the weather here in New York, which has been abysmal. To add to the shoe-soakings and cab-splashings, I lost 48 points today after taking a late-afternoon dive.

What’s with me? Well, for starters, it looks like banks are having a rough go of it. Rumor on the Street is that Morgan Stanley’s implemented a hiring freeze at its investment banking business. And CNBC is reporting that fixed-income desks across Wall Street should prepare for a “bloodbath.” Like I need this right now.

Plus, that European banking mess still isn’t any closer to getting cleaned up. Look — Moody’s downgraded Anglo Irish Bank’s debt by three notches today! It’s going to need help from the government. And nothing puts me on edge like some government intervention. It’s just a little reminder that the whole financial system is still pretty fragile.

Even a spate of merger activity announced early today — and who doesn’t love a giant merger?! — couldn’t keep my spirits up. Not Southwest-Airtran, not Saab-BMW, not Unilever-Alberto Culver. And I think there’s a reason for that:

That’s right. Another mini flash crash. If these things keep recurring, I don’t think I’ll ever escape these nightmares I’ve been having. They go like this: I’m going about my day, buying and selling, everything’s going fine, when suddenly one of those tentacled robots from The Matrix comes along and starts ripping me apart in 100-point blocks. Until we figure out how to keep stocks from dropping from $45 to $4, I’m going to be a little skittish.

Oh well, the sun will come out tomorrow. Oh wait, I just remembered. You know who said that? Little Orphan Annie. And you want to know why she said that? Because it was the Great Depression.

Tomorrow’s a new, blah blah blah,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average Dow Diary: Bots + Banks = Bad Business