There's one sure bet when it comes to the stock market these days: Whether the news out of Washington or Wall Street is good or bad, whether government intervention seems inevitable or impossible, stocks will go down.
Last week, analysts cited "continuing concern" about the economy for tanking stocks as Republicans and Democrats hashed out the details of the stimulus bill. Finally that bill was passed -- a bill that will release nearly $800 billion into the economy in the near future -- and stocks continued to plummet on continued concern that the intervention wouldn't be enough.
Tomorrow the Bureau of Labor Statistics could report a sudden and complete reversal in the unemployment trend, the GM could announce it's fully solvent and selling record numbers of Hummers, and real estate values could wander skyward, and stocks would fall yet again because the news was too good to be true.
There is simply no appeasing the stock market right now. Like an overtired child, it is resolutely inconsolable and refuses to respond to rational argument. Good news, bad news, and no news all send it in the same direction: down.
That's why smart investors are squirreling their fortunes away under mattresses. Compared to the squishy Dow, your average mattress is firm and robust; compared to real estate values, a mattress has a detectable bottom; and compared the wildly gyrating global financial market, you can be pretty sure your money will stay put under a mattress.
All told, it's a wonder that Sealy Corp. (ZZ: NYSE) stock isn't going through the roof.