Which is scarier, spiders or the stock market?

I don’t follow the stock market at all. Nope, not interested — I have no direct personal investment, although I am sure a lot of my retirement funds may be attached to stocks of some sort. What do I know? Ask me about spiders, cephalopods, or zebrafish and I’ll respond enthusiastically, but money? I don’t have much, so it’s not on my radar.

But I do know enough to guess that “cratering” is not a word you want to see in the financial news. Probably “plunge”, “big losses”, “panic”, and “apoplectic” are not good things to hear from the grown-ups, either.

“The stock market is looking at the oil price plunge as a canary in the coal mine of a disinflationary one-two punch, driven partly by cratering demand for transportation fuels and a wanton price war among the major oil producers” that will result in big losses for U.S. and Canadian producers.

Global markets were apoplectic. Japan’s Nikkei closed down more than 5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index shed more than 4.2 percent. European markets were tumbling more than 7 percent across the board in midday trading.

Panic pushed the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury below 0.4 percent for the first time in history Monday as investors fled for safe havens. The trajectory could be an ominous sign of a weakening economy, because a low yield can indicate a lack of confidence in economic growth. Yields decline as bond prices rise. Gold, another safe haven, was up 0.4 percent in early trading.

On top of that, Maxine Waters tells some Wells Fargo board members to resign, and…they do! Either Waters is even scarier than I thought, or Wells Fargo is more rotten than I expected and its executives know it, or both. The rats are scurrying to leave the ship.

I don’t like this subject. Can we talk about spiders instead?


  1. doubtthat says

    Just prepare yourself for the hundreds of billions of dollars we’re about to spend to bailout the fossil fuel industry in fucking 2020.

    Why not spend that money on energy infrastructure and renewables? Oh, silly, naive hippy, how would that appease the Dark, Hungry God, Dow Jones?

  2. stroppy says

    “Can we talk about spiders instead?”

    Careful what you ask for.

    The term spider is the commonly-used expression to describe the the Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipt (SPDR). This type of investment vehicle is an exchange-traded fund (ETF). You can think of an ETF as a basket of securities (like a mutual fund) that trades like a stock. In the case of spiders, the basket of stocks is the S&P 500 index. One of the reasons for buying a SPDR is that it is often (though not always) a quick and easy way to have significant diversification. SPDRs are also relatively inexpensive compared to what it would cost to create this type of portfolio yourself.
    From Investopedia.

  3. ksiondag says

    Stock market is on sale. If you’re in the privileged position of only having low-interest debt, and a reasonable buffer of finances (as I recently have managed), then it’s not a bad time to start putting any regular additional savings into the stock market. It’s too bad recent medical expenses significantly affected how much I can afford at the moment, though. I still appreciate the great privilege of my current situation.

  4. markgisleson says

    Which begs the real question: “Who’s scarier? People into spiders or people into stocks and bonds?”

    To give the spider stans a fighting chance, I phrased the question ambiguously to imply either Wall Street or B&D sex fetishists as the alternative to arachno-archists.

  5. says

    Stocks aren’t the scary things. Yeah, they’re based on theorizing that Maxwell’s Demon not only exists but that anything withdrawn from the market by the Demon (like, say, stockbroker commissions and hedge-fund-manager fees) is a good thing. “Efficient” is better than “bigger,” I guess.

    The scary things are financial derivatives. Which are just as honest as the average game of Three-Card Monte, and have rules just as well established as those of Calvinball and Fizzbin (meaning they’re literally impossible to examine for fraud).

  6. robro says

    Today’s stock market drop was partly brought on by this: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-09/partnership-of-russia-and-saudi-arabia-is-a-coronavirus-casualty.

    Who knew Russia and Saudi Arabia were in bed together…I mean had a deal.

    On another COVID-19 front, if there’s a silver lining (there isn’t) it’s that Trump may have been exposed: Coronavirus: quarantined congressman flew with Trump on Air Force One The congressman is Matt Gaetz, a lovely human being (not). He has my thoughts and prayers. Congressman Doug Collins (Ga) has also been exposed and self-quarantined.

    Their exposure goes back to someone at the CPAC meeting a month ago. I’m hoping he/she shook hands with lots of conservatives, aka Republicans. Trump was also at CPAC. He and Collins toured the CDC together.

    Ted Cuz and another Republican, Paul Gosar (AZ) have also quarantined themselves.

  7. publicola says

    I’d root for the market to tank even further if it wasn’t that a lot of working people have their retirement savings invested in funds that invest in stocks. Can’t say I’d mind seeing all those Gucci-suit portfolios go bottom-up, though.

  8. doubtthat says


    Not to mention that the layoffs are going to start pretty soon.

    These energy companies are highly leveraged, and it could start getting really ugly as defaults start happening (which is why I bet there’s some effort at bailouts). Then people start losing their jobs.