When I was in 3rd grade, my class studied the stock market. We each got to choose three different companies that we wanted to invest in and then follow them for a given length of time. We read the Wall Street Journal daily, looking up the price of our stocks and put together a line graph that displayed their continued growth (clearly, it was a much better time for the economy back then.) I enjoyed this activity so much that I continued to follow my three stocks (Kellogg’s, Hershey’s & Disney) for some time after we completed the unit in school. I didn’t really understand how the stock market worked, nor did I really care; I really just liked drawing the graphs.
We received the Wall Street Journal at school but when I was at home we only received a local New Hampshire paper and the Boston Globe. So, one day when my mom sent me in to the grocery store to pick up a few things, I decided to grab a copy of the Wall Street Journal, so I could “check up” on my stocks (yes, I was a hardcore investor at the time). I had seen my mom grab our town paper off the shelf many times and not pay for it, since they were free. I figured the same was true with the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, I learned this was not the case when I climbed back into the car with my “reading” for the car ride home. My mom made me run back into the store, completely humiliated and embarrassed that I stole something, and made me pay the $1.25 that I owed for the newspaper. That was the first, and last time, I ever stole anything.
My interest in the stock market has slowly declined since my inital investing days. Since Matt is a “professional financer” I decided to make an effort to better understand the work that he does by reading “The Intelligent Investor.” What a mistake that was! I got about half way through the book (twice) before I quit for something more interesting (like the Shopaholic series!)
As much as I would like to leave the past behind me and forget about all of this investing nonsense, it doesn’t seem like that is a real possibility unless Matt decides to change careers.
Last night, when Matt came home around 10:30, I was already in bed. He came into the room and we talked for a little about our days. I honestly love how Matt’s version of “pillow talk” is to tell me about the investments that he researched or news from the stock market. Last night, he was all fired up from the craziness that took place on Wall Street.
As per usual, I didn’t really understand what he was talking about. Basically, the take away points I got were that the stock market had a mini “crash.” Specifically, people were saying that a trader might have accidentally sold 16 billion dollars worth of stock, instead of 16 million, because he accidentally hit the wrong key (fat finger). As a result, P & G’s stock dropped over 35% in a matter of minutes, setting off a state of panic and a market free-fall. Early this morning, Nasdaq announced it will cancel all trades of stocks at prices that were 60% above or below the last price at 2:40 p.m., or immediately prior in an attempt to set things straight.
On my walk to work this morning, I was stunned when I came upon the New York Stock Exchange building. As I have blogged about before, many companies will put banners up along the building to promote their company. This was the site that I came upon this morning.
Now isn’t that ironic?