Index Close Change
Dow 8493.39 -185.58
S&P 500 920.77 -23.53
Nasdaq Composite 1492.77 -45.76
Nasdaq 100 1112.49 -41.99
Russell 2000 408.32 -6.37
Semiconductor Index (SOX) 336.76 -17.61
Bank Index 793.25 -20.03
Amex Gold Bugs Index 140.62 +5.56
Dow Transports 2360.94 -58.37
Dow Utilities 231.47 -3.61
NYSE advance-decline -1,375 -1,454
Nikkei 225 8039.13 -78.16
10-year Treasury Bond 3.45% -0.010

Editor's note: This column, which reflects market activity from the day before, originally appeared May 19 on To sign up for RealMoney, where you can read Bill Fleckenstein's commentary every day, please click here for a free trial.

Absorbing the Local Color: Red: Well, they finally did it. The administration pushed the currency over the cliff at the G8 shrimp fest last weekend when the secretary of debasement, John Snow, described the dollar's decline thus far as "really fairly moderate." When I heard that remark on Saturday, I knew it would be bombs away for the currency, and it was. (More about the dollar in a minute.) Overnight, the world markets sold off, with Europe down a couple percent in the early going, and down 3% to 4% after our market opened. A couple hours into the day, the S&P and the Dow were down about 1.5%, and the Nasdaq was down about 2%, with biotechs one of the few areas of strength.

The early-morning swoon in stocks was just a harbinger of what the day had in store. In essence, the market slid all day long and closed on the low tick, with hardly a bounce. Folks can check the box scores to see that the damage was rather widespread. The only areas to buck the trend were gold stocks, for obvious reasons, and Genentech ( DNA) on some company-specific cancer-related news. All in all, it was a very ugly day for the equity markets, and the first such one we've seen in some time. The right analogy would be to envision billiard balls careening around the table at high speed. It's pretty clear that we're going to get lots of action, but exactly what and when is sort of hard to know. Paying attention to the details may yield some clues.

Snow School of Obedience Training: Away from stocks, the yellow dog was barking, up 3%, which is what it's supposed to do when the dollar declines. Silver was up about 1%. The dollar was down nearly 1% against the euro, and down against everything else as well, except for the yen. After having initially been stronger last night, the yen was down over 1% against the dollar today, due to rumors that the Japanese had intervened.