Great Moments in Journalism, Amex Edition

The AP reports on today’s fall in Amex shares:

American Express Co. shares plunged Wednesday after a report that the credit card issuer is seeking $3.5 billion in funds under the government’s plan to directly invest in financial firms…

The increased funding opportunities through government programs, including the potential $3.5 billion investment, could be a huge boost to American Express as one of its primary sources of funding has nearly disappeared amid the ongoing credit crisis…

The $3.5 billion from the government could help alleviate some of the company’s funding problem and help bolster reserves to protect against future losses.

Well, glad that’s cleared up, then. In reality, the move has nothing to do with TARP: all of the financials are falling, with Goldman down 13%, Morgan Stanley down 12%, Citigroup down 11%, Bank of America down 9%, etc. That’s what happens, these days, when the Dow’s down 400 points: the financials — the most leveraged stocks in the market — always underperform. And why is the Dow down 400 points? Because the market is volatile, and that’s the way it’s been behaving for a while. Really, there’s nothing more to it than that.

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