Washington is talking, but Wall Street seems to be listening to London and Toyko or fixating on its own erratic pulse. After the second consecutive Black Monday, one expert said that the Dow Jones could swing anywhere from 1,700 to 3,500 as it seeks its proper level. The publisher of a newsletter dealing with corporate takeovers threw up his hands and canceled the week's edition, saying: "Frankly, we yet are unable to make much sense of the still-evolving situation and prefer not to issue premature conclusions or half-baked comments to our readers."
When President Reagan sought to reassure Wall Street last week, the market stayed dead even. When the President was bullish on America on Monday, the Dow Jones plunged 156 points. And on Tuesday the President turned absolutely bearish for the first time, saying that anyone who had not detected serious economic clouds on the horizon should have been set straight by the calamity of the past two weeks. The market went up 52 points.
As the White House and congressional leaders actually sat down to negotiate deficit reductions, one Wall Streeter demanded that Washington react immediately or "it will get awful."
But it may take some time for Washington to take corrective action--and probably it should. The economic clouds in fact are towering thunderheads in every direction. Solutions will be complicated, long in taking hold and no doubt somewhat painful for the American public. The first step is a universal understanding that the crash is not simply some overnight blip that can be waved away.