What’s the Point?

On MSNBC they keep calling today’s market plunge “the biggest intraday point drop ever.”

Which is, as The Audit’s Dean Starkman just observed while walking by our office TV, if not pointless, not a particularly helpful way to be talking about all this. Biggest point drop in history? Does that mean Wall Street’s Worst Day Ever? No. It does not. We should be talking percentage drop, not points drop. And percentage-wise — and this makes for much less exciting TV — today was not The Biggest or First or Worst.

Something which on CNN Wolf Blitzer at least mentioned between talk of Biggest Point Drop Ever.

Take a look at this, 688 points, 689 just went up. If this holds, if this holds, this will be the single largest point drop in the market’s history, in the Dow Jones Industrials ever. The largest until now was on September 17th, right after the 9/11 attacks…when the markets reopened after 9/11, the markets went down 684 points that day. Right now, they’re at 689 points. Ali Velshi is watching this for us. It’s not the largest percentage drop because the Dow Jones is selling at a higher number. But in terms of the biggest point drop ever, if this holds, 689, this would be the biggest point drop in American history.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.