Whenever you think it's about as bad as it can get, it gets worse. The Dow finished the trading day at 6,763, its lowest level since 1997. How low can it go?

The market's now lost more than half of its value since its October 2007 highs. And one economist says that based on the previous history of stock market busts in the past century, big stocks could have—are you ready, now?—another 35% to 55%. OR, the sunny scenario: "The market could simply move sideways for 5-10 years... This is what happened in the 1970s." So either a decade of stagnation, or another huge way to fall!

A couple months ago I was in K-Mart buying socks and some young guy who was obviously in finance was talking loud on his cell phone, saying, "Yea, guys at work now are talking about Dow Five Thou, Dow Five Thou..." And I thought, "whatever man, what kind of finance guy is shopping in K-Mart, anyhow?"

Turns out the answer is "the smart ones."