WALL STREET - In a disturbing trend, the stock market has begun to call in sick, take long lunches, and behave in a surly manner previously unseen on Wall Street. "This is really creepy," said Dan Stover, senior analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. "Take Monday: bell rings at 9:00 and the market doesn't show up until 9:14, muttering something about car trouble. No one believed it. Then it went out for lunch at noon and didn't come back until 2:20. You could smell the beer a mile away. God help you if you ask what's wrong. The market'll drag its feet and go on a slow down that kills any trading momentum."
Experts speculate that large inflows of federal money into the private sector may have triggered the behaviour. "It's like spilling motor oil in a punch bowl," said specialist Lou Escalante. "It can't help but leave a taste."
Dan Stover, however, is worried about a proposed $25 billion bailout of the auto industry. "Who knows what more taxpayer dollars will do?" As if to underscore Stover's point, Bank of America has announced plans to spend the month of January 2009 on the beach in Baja as it must use up a backlog of vacation days.