STOCK MARKET: The Mystery Dive

A wasteful war had just been declared at an end, the economy was going like gangbusters on double time, Government-imposed controls on prices and wages had recently been loosened, and the world's monetary powers were meeting to discuss long-overdue currency reforms. So last week was the perfect time for a good, old-fashioned Wall Street rocket launching, right? Wrong.

The stock market, which for years has been crowded with heavy breathers at the merest wisp of a peace rumor, inscrutably chose the session immediately following President Nixon's cease-fire announcement to stage a flounder. The Dow Jones industrial average, the most...

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