August 8, 2011
After falling for most of the past two weeks, stocks are set for another day in the red today after Standard & Poor's took the unprecedented move of downgrading the nation's credit rating on Friday.
It might not be over. S&P may downgrade states, local governments, and other public entities that implicitly rely on the federal government's purse this week. While these downgrades are widely expected, they could add to the general mood of disgust and disappointment that's been guiding markets lately.
There's never a good time to panic. And keep things in perspective: The Dow Jones is still up 9% over the past year! Stocks are down about 12% from recent highs. While gut-checking, that isn't an extreme correction by any means. It's almost an annual ritual. What's taken investors off guard is the speed at which the declines came, and -- importantly -- painful memories of the 2008 market crash, with fear we could be headed back down the same path (though that seems quite unlikely). Psychologists call this "recency bias."
Motley Fool columnists, analysts, and advisors are hosting a live chat starting now until approximately noon ET today, discussing what the downgrade means for your money. Please join the conversation below. Drop a question, answer someone else's, or just share your feelings and investment advice. We're expecting a large volume of comments, and we simply can't answer them all, so don't be discouraged if yours doesn't make it through.