A Yawn For Alan Greenspan

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WASHINGTON: Maybe it's the summer weather. Or the falling yen. But Alan Greenspan just doesn't wow 'em like he used to. "The current economic performance, with its combination of strong growth and low inflation, is as impressive as any I have witnessed in my near half-century of daily observation of the American economy," Greenspan said Wednesday in testimony before the congressional Joint Economic Committee.

High praise indeed, especially from a sourpuss like the Fed chairman. So why on earth did the Dow slip 78 points in Wednesday's session -- after gaining almost 250 points over the past four -- as if CNBC had rerun the "irrational exuberance" speech instead? "We're in between earnings seasons right now, and no one expects the Fed to raise interest rates anyway," says Fortune writer Nelson Schwartz. "All that is translating to a lethargy in the markets -- volume has been weak, even when the Dow goes up. People need a new reason to get excited about stocks; Greenspan just isn't doing it anymore."