Here, in the height of the financial crisis - when it doesn't seem to be possible that things can get any worse (famous last words!) - we have the opportunity to learn some new vocabulary and improve our English. The vocabulary of crisis! Join me as I squeeze some lemons at the end of a very rough week and explore a few important English expressions.
From an article in the Wall Street Journal today:
Wild Day Caps Worst Week Ever for Stocks: Dow Swings 1019 Points in Index's Most-Volatile Session; Despite 'Fire-Sale Prices,' Buyers Mostly Stand Back
The Dow Jones Industrial Average capped the worst week in its 112-year history with its most volatile day ever, as hopes for a major international bank-rescue plan were overwhelmed at day's end by another wave of selling.
Some investors who normally would be jumping to buy beaten-down stocks after a 22% decline over eight trading days said the relentless declines have left them shell-shocked and unwilling to take new risks. Some spent the day trying to protect themselves from further declines.
Okay, time to make that lemonade and learn some vocabulary:
fire-sale prices: cheap prices; low prices; prices much lower than normal. This American expression originally meant goods actually damaged by a fire. They were sold at a reduced price due to the fire damage.
(to) stand back: to wait; to not take any action.
volatile: when talking about stocks, this means that they tend to go up and down a lot. Over the past week, the stock market has been very volatile!
beaten-down: lowered; depressed - beaten-down stocks are ones that have been sold heavily. Their prices are much lower than before. People with beaten-down stocks are likely to also feel beaten-down (as in sad or depressed).
shell-shocked: confused; stunned; suffering from an unexpected difficulty. This term comes to us from World War 1. Many soldiers suffered great trauma - then called "shell shock" and now referred to more commonly as "post-traumatic stress." People who watch their retirement plans shrink up or their life savings go down are most understandably shell-shocked!