What a Ride: Stocks' Volatile 2011
So much gray hair. So little to show for it.
The major U.S. stock indexes may not have gotten very far in 2011—the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6.2% for the year and the Standard & Poor's 500 stock-index is up less than 1% —but there was plenty to keep investors interested all year long. Geopolitical upheaval, natural disasters, sovereign-debt crises and credit-rating downgrades competed for the market's attention. These forces whipped stocks around to a degree not seen since the financial crisis three years ago.
STANLEY, N.D. — Just like everybody else around here, Fred Evans spent his life coaxing a good enough living out of the earth. He grew wheat, ran cattle and, during a couple of short-lived bursts of activity, worked on the drill rigs searching for oil across the northern prairie. But unlike his neighbors, Mr. Evans was convinced that the area would someday be home to an epic oil boom. For years he would approach others in the area offering to buy or lease the rights to drill on their land, often delivering his pitch at a time of need. More than a few, to their enduring regret, agreed.
The amounts of cash being deposited by eurozone banks at the European Central Bank increased further on Wednesday, just days after the ECB provided unprecedented levels of liquidity in an effort to reduce tension in the financial system. The huge use of the overnight facility comes after more than 520 banks borrowed €489bn from the ECB last week under a new three-year liquidity scheme, suggesting that much of the funding provided by the central bank has yet to be put to use by banks, analysts said.
After enjoying a few drinks, some people go dancing. Others order food. And for some, it’s time to shop online. “I have my account linked to my phone, so it’s really easy,” said Tiffany Whitten, of Dayton, Ohio, whose most recent tipsy purchase made on her smartphone — a phone cover — arrived from Amazon much to her surprise. “I was drunk and I bought it, and I forgot about it, and it showed up in the mail, and I was really excited.”
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