I have argued for decades that the press pays too much attention to daily stock market movement. Their immediate fluctuations are of interest mainly to day traders (ah, remember when that was a popular pastime). Their longer term connection to real national wealth, welfare, and happiness is imprecise, to put it mildly. This is especially so in the volatile and panicky mood of the moment.
Obviously my effort to get the daily market reports pushed to the inside pages is a doomed crusade. But in the short run, I wish that, instead of the DJIA / S&P 500 / NASDAQ etc, we had some comparably precise seeming, attention-getting, publicized* measure of credit availability. From all evidence, that is the real emergency driving real destruction of real companies creating real products and about to eliminate real jobs.
While waiting to see what President Bush (ah, remember him!) might have to say on the topic, anecdotage that is getting my attention:
Three weeks ago, I mentioned that DayJet, the pioneering air-taxi company, was shutting down not (it claimed) because of overt business problems but because of the impossibility of getting short-term finance. At the time, the credit squeeze might have seemed an excuse for the inevitable diceyness of the air travel business.