Updated from 3:20 p.m. EST
Pfizer ( PFE) and Wal-Mart ( WMT) were higher, but the other 28 stocks on the Dow were falling, many of them significantly. You look at the selloff in some of these names, and you want to believe you've got bad quotes. You don't. Alcoa ( AA) really is down 16.5% to $5.20. Citigroup ( C) is at $1.01 and earlier went under a buck. GM ( GM) has dropped 17.3% to $1.82, and Bank of America ( BAC) has fallen 10.6% to $3.22. Before you get the idea it's only the usual suspects, consider the losses in some of the other stocks. Kraft ( KFT), Coca-Cola ( KO) and 3M ( MMM), all down more than 4%. Procter & Gamble ( PG) and United Technologies ( UTX) off 3%.
For some time I've been wondering if we would be in this situation if the banks were never publicly traded. Not government controlled, not nationalized. That's not at all what I'm saying. I mean existing in private hands minus the stock that can go up or down, and which lately is pretty much down and down hard. I'm willing to bet we could still have a vibrant marketplace for equity securities of companies that offer a slew of products and services, even if the banks and financial firms weren't among them. On top of that, I'll wager that these banks would be able to conduct business just fine. Depositors would deposit, borrowers would borrow. Just something to think about.
Alcoa ( AA) and Caterpillar ( CAT) are sinking now that China doesn't seem to be getting any new stimulus. Goldman Sachs says the world economy will do even worse this year than it previously thought. No repeat of Wednesday's performance for the Dow. A day ago, the industrials gained 150 points. Now all of that's gone. Recently, the DJIA was down 193 points at 6683. At midsession, 28 of the index's 30 components were losing ground. Wal-Mart ( WMT) was the best stock, up 2.7% thanks to its strong sales and dividend hike, while General Electric ( GE) edged ahead 0.8% after its CFO said the selling in his company's shares was "overdone." Otherwise, it was all red numbers. Here's one positive. The Dow's off its session low of 6630.