Dow Jones Under the Spotlight

With second quarter corporate earnings coming to an end, it is generally expected that the series of rallies experienced on Wall Street are also likely to come to an end. It has become increasingly clear that the better than expected results from corporate companies have been as a result of aggressive cost-cutting measures, rather than an increase in demand for goods and services. Consumers continue to feel the pressure of job losses and stretched to the limit household budgets. The effect of the recession on consumers was further confirmed by the disappointing July retail sales published last week along with subdued consumer sentiment for August, revealing that aggressive cost-cutting measures are taking place on the home-front as well.

Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers last year, the Dow Jones industrial average, as has been the case with all stock indicators, has taken a hammering, ending 2008 at 8,776, way below the magical 10,000 which for many signals that everything is okay. While this holds true for stock market investors who continue to keep a watchful eye on stock indicators, even the average person on Main Street has been taking more of an interest in the workings of Wall Street. This has been one of the motivating factors behind the revival of a 1967 musical comedy “How Now Dow Jones“, which will be presented by Unsung Musicals as part of the popular New York International Fringe Festival from 15 to 23 August 2009 at New York‘s Minetta Lane Theater.

How Now, Dow Jones is based on a book by Max Shulman, with music by Academy Award winner Elmer Bernstein and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. The story follows the life of Kate, who monitors and announces the Dow Jones numbers, and her fiancé Herbert who has promised to marry her when the Dow Jones industrial average hits 1,000. Highlighting some of the complexities of Wall Street, along with loads of laughs and a musical score worthy of Broadway (where it originally appeared in 1967), theater director Ben West (whose day job is as an administrative assistance in an investment bank) has put together a show that audiences from all walks of life will appreciate – proving that even in these tough times, the one thing you dont want to lose is your sense of humor.