Welcome To The New Normal: The Dow Crashes Another 390 Points And Wal-Mart Closes 269 Stores

stocks_walmartBy Michael Snyder

Did you know that 15 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out since last June?  The worldwide financial crisis that began in the middle of last year is starting to spin wildly out of control.  On Friday, the Dow plunged another 390 points, and it is now down a total of 1,437 points since the beginning of this calendar year.  Never before in U.S. history have stocks ever started a year this badly.  The same thing can be said in Europe, where stocks have now officially entered bear market territory.

As I discussed yesterday, the economic slowdown and financial unraveling that we are witnessing are truly global in scope.  Banks are failing all over the continent, and I expect major European banks to start making some huge headlines not too long from now.  And of course let us not forget about China.  On Friday the Shanghai Composite declined another 3.6 percent, and overall it is now down more than 20 percent from its December high.  Much of this chaos has been driven by the continuing crash of the price of oil.  As I write this article, it has dipped below 30 dollars a barrel, and many of the big banks are projecting that it still has much further to fall.


The other night, Barack Obama got up in front of the American people and proclaimed that anyone that was saying that the economy was not recovering was peddling fiction.  Well, if the U.S. economy is doing so great, then why in the world has Wal-Mart decided to shut down 269 stores?…

Walmart (WMT) will close 269 stores around the world in a strategic move to focus more on its supercenters and e-commerce business, the company said Friday.

The closures include 154 U.S. locations, encompassing Walmart’s entire fleet of 102 ‘Express’ format stores, its smallest stores that have been in pilot testing since 2011. Some supercenters, Sam’s Club locations and Neighborhood Markets will also close, plus 115 stores in Latin American markets. The closures were decided based on financial performance and how well the locations fit with Walmart’s broader strategy, says Greg Hitt, a company spokesman.

We have grown accustomed to other major retailers shutting down stores, but this is Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart doesn’t retreat.  For decades, Wal-Mart has been on a relentless march forward.  They have been an unstoppable juggernaut that has expanded extremely aggressively and that has ruthlessly crushed the competition.

I was absolutely stunned when I saw that they were going to close down 269 stores.  If you want to know if your local store is in danger, you can view the full list right here.

Overall, 10,000 Wal-Mart employees will be affected.  I could understand closing down a few underperforming stores, but if the U.S. economy truly is in great shape then it wouldn’t make any sense at all to shut down hundreds of stores.

What in the name of Sam Walton is going on out there?

The truth, of course, is that the U.S. economy is in great danger.  We have now entered the next great crisis, but most communities around the country never even recovered from the last one.  In fact, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a whopping 93 percent of all counties in the United States “have failed to fully recover” from the last recession…

More than six years after the economic expansion began, 93% of counties in the U.S. have failed to fully recover from the blow they suffered during the recession.

Nationwide, 214 counties, or 7% of 3,069, had recovered last year to prerecession levels on four indicators: total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values, a study from the National Association of Counties released Tuesday found.

The next few weeks are going to be very interesting to watch.  The economic fundamentals continue to deteriorate, and the financial markets are finally starting to catch up with economic reality.


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As the collapse on Wall Street accelerates, we are going to increasingly see panic selling and forced liquidations.  In the past, it was mostly humans that had their hands on the controls during market crashes, but today the machines are making more of the decisions than ever before.  The following comes from CNBC

The new market age is decidedly different: Rather than that seething cacophony, aggressive corrections like the current ones are directed by a faceless metronome of computer-generated orders, triggering irresistible momentum and trillions in losses.

Amid it all, market veterans are left to ponder when the script will flip and market direction will turn not by newfound optimism among traders in the pits, but rather by algorithms that generate “buy” rather than “sell” signals.

It feels like sell program after sell program,” said Michael Cohn, chief market strategist at Atlantis Asset Management, a boutique firm in New York. “It seems to happen first thing in the morning, and then however the market transpires during the day is how they close it. If it looks like it’s coming back, they’ll take it at the end. If if looks like it’s heading lower, they’ll slam it at the end of the day.”

Earlier today, an article authored by Michael Pento entitled “A recession worse than 2008 is coming” was posted on CNBC.  Here is a short excerpt…

But a recession has occurred in the U.S. about every five years, on average, since the end of WWII; and it has been seven years since the last one — we are overdue.

Most importantly, the average market drop during the peak to trough of the last 6 recessions has been 37 percent. That would take the S&P 500 down to 1,300; if this next recession were to be just of the average variety.

But this one will be worse.

If stocks do drop a total of 37 percent, that would just bring them back to levels that would be considered “normal” or “average” by historical standards.  There is certainly the possibility that they could fall much farther than that.

And of course the markets are so incredibly fragile at this point that any sort of a “trigger event” could cause a collapse of epic proportions.

All it is going to take is a major disaster or emergency of some sort.

Do you have a feeling that something really bad is about to happen?  This is something that I have been hearing from people that I respect, and I would like to know if it is a phenomenon that is more widespread.  If you have been feeling something like this, please feel free to share it with us by posting a comment below…

Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

  • blue579

    Kicking some investment class a$$, except the top tier insiders who always come out on top. As for Walmarts closing, good riddance. Remember Janet’s trial “See something say something” monitors in some Walmarts?

    Enter stage left the Basic Income aka Minimum Income (Mincome) floated by the MSM and the Obama administration two years ago.

  • locutus_of_borg

    M. Snyder (as usual) doesn’t get it. it’s all planned by the banking mafia.

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl * ben-‘Adam

    John 20:1
    The first day of the week Cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
    ______________________________
    “There is buried within us, ‘buried in the tomb,’ — the body — a Soul. The Soul may become the Christ. It must first be awakened, brought to Consciousness, and Illuminated. THIS IS OUR WORK.
    This work is the REgeneration. It is the Second or Spiritual birth which the Nazarene taught MUST be passed through if we seek the “Kingdom of Heaven.” When this work is accomplished, then is “the stone” of the “sepulchre” rolled away and the Christ is arisen, i.e., COME FORTH in his Glory — the Light.”

    • The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb
      The four Gospels each give a different time for the first visit to Jesus’ tomb, though they all agree that a character named Mary Magdalene is the first visitor. The four Gospels also contradict one another about whether Mary Magdalene is alone when she first comes to the tomb, and about how many individuals are either inside or outside the tomb when she arrives. Since I had already realized that there was nothing inadvertent in the Gospels, I wondered about the purpose of these contradictions. My efforts to answer this question led me to discover another, more logical, way to understand the New Testament stories of Jesus’ resurrection than any I had heard of previously : that the four different versions create one story that should be read intertextually.
      This reading reveals that Jesus does not rise from the dead. Rather, Mary Magdalene simply mistakes Lazarus’ empty tomb for the tomb of Jesus. This misunderstanding then sets off a comedy of errors during which the disciples mistake one another for angels and thereby delude themselves into believing that their Messiah has risen from the dead. This combined story also completes the joke I discussed in the previous chapter – that since the real Messiah, Lazarus, has been eaten, his tomb is therefore empty. To understand this combined story is quite simple, requiring only that the reader think logically………..

      Caesar’s Messiah
      The Roman conspiracy to invent Jesus
      by Joseph Atwill

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Dow down because of Obama’s self important lie filled bogus diatribe nicknamed the “State of the Union Address”.

  • abinico

    Fictitious, imaginary wealth cannot be wiped out except in a fictitious and imaginary way.

  • Talon

    Glad to see Walmart is leaving Texas in a big way. Their model and attitude were not compatible with the Texas spirit so there are few tears from this part of the country. This will give our other stores an opportunity to pick up market share and promote the friendly Texas spirit.

  • Psychic Warrior

    The conservative Wal-Mart empire is crumbling; couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of billionaires! Faux capitalism falling on its sword; you gotta love it!!

  • gawain

    good riddance walie mart – you are not wanted. I haven’t shopped there for decade(s).

    glad I converted my assets into hard metals.

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