Saturday, November 01, 2008
The Wall Street Journal reports($) on a month to remember:
Wall Street closed a poor October on Friday but the 16.9% drop in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index looked pretty good compared with the hit taken by Asia and some other nations.
October brought a mauling to markets from Brazil, down 24%, to China, down nearly 25%. The culprit was a word unfamiliar to many: "deleveraging," or Wall Street jargon for the practice of unloading stocks and bonds bought with borrowed money, usually under pressure.
In the wake of the mid-September bankruptcy court filing by Lehman Brothers Holdings, that pressure became intense, and selloffs wiped out investments from oil to stocks, leaving few areas of the globe unaffected.
Dan Peirce, a portfolio manager at State Street Global Advisors, explained what happened this way: "Three words: global margin call."