Business writers and editors now have to keep a close ear on what Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) says, after his downbeat "fiscal cliff" remarks near the close of the stock market yesterday were credited with sending it to the lows of the day, observes Grumpy Editor.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, after being in and out of positive territory, tumbled 89.24 points to 12878.13 at the close.
In connection with negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, Reid said, "They talked some happy talk about doing revenues, but we only have a couple weeks to get something done. So we have to get away from the happy talk and start talking about specific things.
"I'm extremely hopeful and I do not believe that the Republicans are going to allow us to go over the cliff," continued Reid, adding he hoped Republicans can agree to tax-rate increases and that Democrats were happy to deal with entitlements.
The tax-rate dispute is the central obstacle to an agreement that would prevent the U.S. from plunging off the fiscal cliff, a convergence of an estimated $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts.
With key financial matters, media focus on comments by Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, at speeches and especially after Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings.
Bernanke's messages, after being digested, often send the stock market south.
But now, Reid will probably have more business writers at his press conferences.