So that’s not nearly as bad as it might have been. As of 10:00, the S&P 500 is down 1.6%, and the Dow is down less than 1%. JP Morgan is up – that’s really good news. The financials are ugly, but not apocalyptic. Bear Stearns is at $3.70, which implies that the sale might not go through at $2 a share as everybody except Bear’s shareholders would like. Citigroup is now worth less than $100 billion (and much less than Apple). Lehman is down "only" 15%, which doesn’t seem too panicky to me and is frankly better than I’d expected; it’s now trading more or less at a price-to-book of 1.
If stocks are holding up this well, I think that Bernanke might just have managed to dodge a particularly lethal bullet here. But it’s still going to be a very long day before we know for sure.