Markets & Economy

Worried about plunge in stock prices? Don’t just do something, sit there

Stock market sell-off was overdue, and bond rally is knocking rates down

Three weeks ago, surprise market movements embarrassed New Year's prognosticators. By last week the moves were big enough to attract a few bottom-fishers, others too queasy.At the end of this week, the defensive huffing "Just a correction" sounds like Monty Python's amputated knight, "Just a flesh wound!"First some hard data, then the mechanics and risks of a currency crisis, then the Fed and U.S. response.Fourth-quarter GDP did fine, up 3.2 percent, which beats the hell out of 2 percent. But that was a percentage-point lower than the boomer forecasts last month.Best part: Consumers led, accounting for the whole gain. But housing is thin at best, pending sales in a bad tank in December. And orders for durable goods sank 4.3 percent in that month.The questions remain: Have we entered true acceleration, and if so enough to raise wages?We can argue about those questions, but there is nothing in the data to cause the stock market sell-off and bond rally. Those have ...

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