Times Leads with "Slowdown Fear," Stayed Ho-Hum Over Good Economic News

A big drop in the Dow gives the Times an excuse to warn of slowdown fears on the front page - yet the Times downplayed the stock market's recent record high and suggested the great new jobs report was "too good to be true."

A bad day on Wall Street led Thursday's Times. Michael Grynbaum and Peter Goodman marked the 360-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average with "Markets and Dollar Sink As Slowdown Fear Grows."

"Stock markets plummeted and the dollar sank to a record low against the euro yesterday as investors worldwide grew skittish over rising oil prices and the prospect of a substantial economic slowdown in the United States.

"The Dow Jones industrial average fell 360 points and the broader stock market dropped nearly 3 percent, driven down by fear that the troubles in housing are likely to continue well into next year, contributing to further losses in credit markets and spreading pain to the rest of the economy. After a relatively strong summer, consumer spending is expected to tighten and business profits slow in the months ahead, analysts said.

"'We are experiencing among our clients an awakening that the United States is in big trouble,' said Erik Nielsen, chief Europe economist at Goldman Sachs.

The Times got a little moralistic over America's wasteful driving habits:

"The rise in oil prices, which briefly traded yesterday above $98 a barrel before settling at $96.37, now appear to be pushing up the cost of gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel as well. That only intensified concern that American consumers may no longer be able to sustain their spending on other goods and services, particularly the large numbers of gas-guzzling vehicles still being turned out by the Detroit automakers."

But the Times isn't nearly as interested in market machinations when the Dow is going up; when the DJIA reached an all-time high of 14,087 on October 1, the story only made the front page of the Business Day section. The Times followed up a few days later with stories on economic "turmoil" and claims that "Despite the stock market's recent run, the buyout bubble has burst."

And last week's much stronger-than-expected jobs report, showing 166,000 new jobs created?"Too good to be true."