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With the last McCain/Obama debate in the books, Wall Street can rejoice

The culprit for the chaos in the financial markets has become clear. Blame it on the just-concluded series of presidential and vice presidential debates.

True, on the day of the first one -- Friday, Sept. 26 -- traders were a friendly audience for a faceoff. Before John McCain and Barack Obama took the stage that night in Mississippi, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 121 points.

But on its next work day -- Monday, Sept. 29 -- Wall Street was in a foul mood. The Dow plunged about 777 points.

OK, so maybe the drop had more to do with the surprise failure of the House late that morning to pass the first financial rescue plan. But how do we explain what has happened since then:

** Sarah Palin and Joe Biden meet in St. Louis on Thursday, Oct. 2, for their sole debate. The Dow that day -- down about 348 points.

** McCain and Obama conduct their town hall debate in Nashville on Tuesday, Oct. 7. The Dow that day -- down about 508 points.

** Wednesday's concluding face-off takes place on Long Island on a day the Dow plummets about 733 points.

Political junkies and undecided voters may yearn for still more debates. But for the markets, that might be a death blow.

-- Don Frederick

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This is an entertaining stretch of simultaneity to causality. Markets anticipate -- do you suppose they are anticipating the consequences of gains they expect by the Democratic candidate in the debates?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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