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The perfect storm

Wild ride on the stock market today.  More subprime fallout, credit concerns and lower housing sales trashed the Financials sector, ExxonMobil missing their earnings killed the Energy sector, the Materials sector was down on falling commodities prices, and Transportation was down because of rising oil and gas prices.  This dragged the entire rest of the stock market into a downward spiral.

At its worst, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 449 points (3.3%!), though a rally in the last hour reduced the damage to 311 points, a 2.26% loss.  The broader S&P 500 faired worse, with a 2.33% loss.  The small-cap Russell 2000 did even worse, down 2.59%.  143 of the 147 S&P industry groups were negative today, with declines outnumbering advances 5-1 on the NASDAQ and 10-1 on the NYSE. 

I was all set to reap huge profits from Apple (AAPL), which issued a very good quarterly report last night, and indeed, their stock was up $8.74 a share, which netted me over $1300 for the day.  Unfortunately, all my other stocks managed to wipe out that profit.  With mutual fund returns still 90 minutes out, I'm ahead by only $536 on the day.  The mutuals will probably wipe out most (if not all) of that.  I suppose it could have been worse, if I hadn't followed my hunch about Apple last night, I'd be down $700 (and more when the mutuals come in)

Since its so hard to get in and out of mutual funds, I'm selling off everything I can and sinking the money into ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), which are diversified like mutuals, but have lower expense fees, no load fees and can be bought and sold instantly like stocks.  I've also set 2% trailing stops on all my stocks and ETFs, that way a monster of a day like today won't hurt as much.

EDIT:  Mutual fund returns are in for a net loss of $500 on the day.  Ouch.  If not for Apple and some well timed trading, that would have been over $2000 in the hole for the day.

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