The Lessons of History

The stock market's response to the Middle East crisis demonstrated what a powerful teacher history can be. At the first emotional scare headlines, the big international oils dropped and, as expected, carried the market down with them. Dow-Jones industrials tumbled 5.96 points in a single session, the biggest sell-off of the year. Then investors paused—and realized that panic is always unprofitable. As in the Suez crisis and other flareups, they turned their attentions to shares that might benefit from a harder U.S. stand. In buying surges that frequently left the ticker behind, investors sent industrials up 3.7 points...

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