Here are a few fun facts for you to ponder:

  • Going back to 1928, six of the top 10 biggest percentage-losing days in the Dow occurred in October.
  • During that same period, five of the top 10 biggest percentage-gaining days occurred in October.
  • From those two sets, three of the 11 days occurred this October. Yowzas!

No doubt about it, markets are completely lost for direction right now. Up 900 points one day, down 700 a few days later. Up 400 points during breakfast, down 400 by lunchtime ... the volatility is nauseating.

When will it ever end? Your guess is as good as mine.

The beginning of this downward spiral started last summer, when we referred to the problem as just the "subprime crisis." Since then, subprime has trickled off of the importance list, and now companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) -- both either debt-free or close to it -- are down more than 40% year to date. It was only back in March that rickety Bear Stearns' bailout bewildered the world; now formidable Wall Street kings like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) are part of the bailout crowd.

In other words, it just keeps getting worse and worse.

The Dow is on track for its worst performance since 1937 -- in the throes of the Great Depression. It's currently down around 33% year to date, sending us back to the same levels it traded at in early 1998. In honor of Japan's folly, we'll call it our "lost decade."

Last month, we asked you how low the Dow will go; 70% said the Dow had already bottomed or would do so at around 7,500. One-fifth said Dow 5,000 was in our cards, while 10% said things would get uglier than that.

Here's today's question: When do you think the Dow will bottom out? Take a moment to weigh in via our Fool Poll below, and throw in your thoughts in the comment section if you care to elaborate.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. JPMorgan Chase is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.