A Long Week for John Mack

The most unhappy man on Wall Street today might very be John Mack, the CEO of Morgan Stanley, who watched the banking giant's stock price dip below $10 today. Morgan Stanley is now frantically reassuring investors that a deal with Mitsubishi UFJ to inject $9 billion into the beleaguered bank is still going to go ahead, notwithstanding the grim fact that Morgan Stanley's stock has slid 70 percent since Mitsubishi cemented the deal with Mack on September 22nd.

Today's 22 percent drop was attributed to the news that Moody's may downgrade Morgan's credit rating, although as most observers are quick to acknowledge, what has sent the stock into a downward spiral for several weeks now seems to be fear more than anything else: As one analyst told Bloomberg News, "Once the fear virus has infected the story, it is tough to shake." A rather depressing lesson to keep in mind as John McCain turns to just such an impulse in the final weeks of the campaign.