WALL STREET: Alarms and Excursions

The New York Stock Exchange was sagging gently along early last week, when suddenly the news ticker flashed: "Unidentified planes two hours away...." Later, a huge siren near the old Treasury Building, right across the street, went off with an awful wail. On the trading floor men wheeled, dashed for the trading posts, frantically dumped thousands of shares of stock for whatever they would bring. This done, many of them high-tailed for office or home. When the all-clear sounded 17 minutes later, leading stocks had lost 2 to 10 points, the market was at a new four-year low.

Next day brokers...