BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 15 July, 2002, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Bush speech fails to deliver
Traders react as they watch the markets drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Futures pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during morning trading Monday
Traders were busy during frenzied selling on Monday

In speaking to US investors on Monday, US President George W Bush tried to soothe away concerns about corporate responsibility and confidence in American markets.


To skim on the details and just go to high-sounding phrases doesn't cut it

Larry Wachtel analyst
It did not help.

In a speech billed to restore confidence in America, Mr Bush said the American economy remained sound and that the stock market was merely hung over from its late 1990s dot.com binge.

But stocks fell anyway, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), a measure of stock performance among the nation's largest firms, falling more than 400 points on Monday afternoon as investors rushed to sell.

Among those who sold recently was Barbara Reid, an office manager at consultancy Tigris, who decided to take "matters into my own hands", after watching the value of her retirement portfolio drop by 20%.

Restoring confidence

"Last week I spent the weekend researching different stocks and different funds," Ms Reid told BBC News Online, "And I changed a good percentage of it into gold."

The remainder, she said, she put into individual stocks that had gains during the last three years.

US President George W. Bush waves to the crowd at the Alys Stephens Center after speaking about the current economy at the University of Alabama in Birmingham
Mr Bush said little new
Ms Reid, who did not watch Mr Bush's speech, does not fault the president for failing to shore up flagging markets. But she would like to see increased penalties for corporate fraud and other changes.

Those who did view the president's speech were left wondering what he had to say that was new.

Sarbanes bill

Analysts were critical of the president for reiterating themes he made last week that failed to stop a market slide then.

With Monday's outsized losses, the president had swung twice and missed.

"The title of the speech was to restore confidence in the American system," said Prudential Securities market analyst Larry Wachtel.

"To skim on the details and just go to high-sounding phrases doesn't cut it."

Mr Wachtel said the president needs to lay out specifics about what he intends to do or expects Congress to do in wake of several accounting scandals, begun last Autumn with the downfall of Enron.

"Everybody has endorsed the Sarbanes bill - except the administration," he says, referring to a measure crafted by Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes, the sponsor of tough corporate-fraud legislation.

While stocks were much lower even before the president began his comments, the losses accelerated in the hours following his speech at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Right decisions

Some viewed Monday's selling as the worst seen in nearly 30 years.

"For lack of a better description, you have as much full-fledged panic as you are going to get," said Tony Cecin, director of institutional trading at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis.

"The negative mentality is as pervasive as I have ever seen it, and I went through '73 and '74", he said, referring to the years when Wall Street last saw an extended sell-off.

As for Ms Reid, she can only hope her recent investment decisions are the right ones.

"I found some that I'm happy with," she said of the stocks she has chosen.

Laughing, she added, "We'll see if I'm any better than the professionals."


Analysis

IN DEPTH
The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
Launch marketwatch
View market data
See also:

15 Jul 02 | Business
09 Jul 02 | Business
01 Jul 02 | Business
09 Jul 02 | Americas
Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes