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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Markets Hover at Opening as They Wait on Washington

Wall Street is in a holding pattern at opening as it waits on Washington.

A one-two combination of economic stimulus is on deck in Washington today, as the Senate preps to vote on President Obama's $838 billion stimulus plan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is set to announce his comprehensive recovery plan for the financial sector.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 30 points, or less than half of 1 percent.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both essentially even.

Here at The Ticker, we like to take a long-term, less-alarmist view than others might. Wild swings in the market day-to-day usually end up meaning little for your investments over the course of years.

That being said, today could end up being a real pivot point in the markets.

The Dow hit its most recent bottom on Nov. 21 of last year at 7,392 and has been in a slow but steady climb since then, hovering around 8,100, as the markets work to contain the bleeding and the recession drags on.

If Wall Street likes Geithner's plan, today could mark a real kick-start to the markets. If they believe Geithner's plan will truly clean up the toxic balance sheets of banks and other financial institutions and allow private capital to flow back into the system, then the markets could take off and the recovery of your 401(k) can begin.

But if Wall Street doesn't like Geithner's plan and thinks it doesn't go far enough, then private capital is still too scared to flow back into the system in a significant fashion. That would create a stagnant Wall Street and the markets would be lucky to hold their position.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2009; 9:53 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Geithner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Next: Senate Passes Stimulus Bill, 61-37

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