Friday was a bad end to a bad week for the market and for financials in particular, in the wake of President Obama's statements on limiting the risk-taking of large American banks.
Leading the downward march on Friday were shares of American Express (AXP - Get Report), which lost almost 9%, and Capital One (COF - Get Report), which fell more than 12%, highlighting how investors reacted wildly to negative information as the week came to a close. New credit card regulations were expected to affect the companies negatively.
In comparison to AXP and COF, credit card company peer Visa (V - Get Report) shed only a modest 2% on Friday, and even the main target of populist anger against Wall Street, Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report), was down only 5%. Stranger still is the fact that AXP's earnings were slightly better than the market expected.
However, after this week, the pattern should no longer be surprising. Important companies have been beating expectations left and right since earnings season began, but even when earnings have been stellar, the market has not seen it as positive enough to placate concerns about the future of the economy.Macroeconomic issues such as China's tightening of lending and Obama's plans for banking regulation have made the market wary of a future slowdown in economic recovery to the point that the success of fourth-quarter earnings and even the whole of 2009 is barely relevant. The market's wariness, when given unsettling future information alongside positive past results, may not be an entirely bad thing. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll