After 10 months of reassuringly steady gains, the Dow plunged 552 points last week — an apparent reaction to President Obama's plan to implement "the most far-reaching overhaul of Wall Street since the 1930s." Critics say Obama's scheme will potentially break up big banks like JPMorgan Chase, throwing both the stock market's health — and the average American's retirement funds —into new uncertainty. With reports that 77 percent of U.S. investors now view Obama as "anti-business," is your 401(k) really in danger?
Obama's populism will hurt your portfolio: Why is Obama ignoring the counsel of both his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Chief Economic Advisor Larry Summers, says Nolan Finlay in The Detroit News, by threatening to "renew his war on Wall Street with a vengeful vigor," levying a "punitive tax on large banks"? If the president follows through with this ill-advisedly "populist" solution to his own political setbacks, "investors will know who to blame for the reversal of their recent 401(k) gains."
"Obama's answer: More populism"
This is just a bluff — your 401(k) is safe: "If investors were really worried that these new rules were going to have teeth," says Kevin Drum in Mother Jones, "the Dow would have dropped a couple thousand points, not a couple hundred." Wall Streeters know the president isn't really planning to get tough, and that his "sketchy" proposal won't affect their ability to make "astronomical amounts of money."
"Wall Street Yawns"
Last week's Dow drop was a much-needed correction: Obama's call to regulate and shrink too-big-to-fail banks may have "intensified" Wall Street's anxiety, says Laurent Belsie in The Christian Science Monitor, but this dip was just "a necessary correction" in a market that's been going up too fast. It's worth remembering that banks — and "the rest of corporate America" — remain "in far better shape than a year ago" and the "U.S. economy still seems headed in the right direction." And that's good news for your 401(k).
"Dow sees biggest plunge since March"
If Obama really is "anti-business," adjust your 401(K) plan accordingly: The president's "punitive measures" against banks have pounded the market down at time when it would otherwise be going up, says CNBC's Jim Cramer, as quoted on Seeking Alpha. The plan "proves that Washington is in a profoundly anti-business mood" and even small investors need to start "play[ing] it safe by investing in defensive stocks" like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola — and keep their fingers crossed that "the stock market’s message isn’t lost on this White House.”
"Time is of the nonsense"
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