Dow Jones stocks suffer worst June since the Great Depression

Wall Street opens for trading tomorrow after a depressing week of losses that pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to its worst June since the Great Depression. The blue-chip index is at its lowest point since September 2006.

Investors are again contending with a relentless stream of troubling news from record oil prices to renewed concerns over the health of the financial sector.

“I think the market is trying to make a bottom, but the question is: Will it hold there or just crash through?” said Alexander Paris, an economist and market analyst for Barrington Research. “It feels just like the top of the technology bubble in 2000 – you know there’s something wrong, but it is hard to time it.”

The Dow closed Friday at 11,346.51, a loss of 4.2 percent for the week. The Nasdaq composite index finished at 2,315.63, down 3.8 percent. The S&P 500 index ended the week at 1,278.38, a drop of 3.0 percent.

Friday’s 107-point decline in the Dow left the index down 10.2 percent in June and on the brink of a bear market. The Dow has plunged 19.9 percent since setting an all-time high in October. Market experts define a bear market as a drop of at least 20 percent from a recent high.

“We are already in a bear market,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets. “Even the good ships get stranded on the beach when the tide goes out.”

“Hyper Milers” claim to get 100+miles per gallon out of contemporary hybrids (in USA Today article today.)

100 mpg? For ‘hypermilers,’ that sounds about right

…Saw this article in USA Today today (click here to read whole article), thought it was interesting and with $4.00+ per gallon gas(current US avg. price is $4.072/gal. according to AAA), we could all use a few gas saving tips…

an excerpt:

“…After a 29-mile jaunt from his Phoenix office to his home here, Louis Hudgin proclaimed his gas mileage “pitiful.” He averaged just 88.3 miles per gallon (in a 2000 Honda Insight Hybrid)…Hudgin’s disappointment – he usually averages about 100 mpg this time of year…He’s a hypermiler, part of a loose-knit legion of commuters who’ve made racking up seemingly unatainable mpg an art. And a Sport…”

Some “Hypermiler” websites for us to explore:

CleanMPG.com, Greenhybrid.com, Hypermiling.com, 100 Tips to save gas

Connecticut General Assembly overrides Governor’s minimum wage increase veto

The following was published at Courant.com, in the Hartford Courant:

HARTFORD, Conn. – With two votes to spare, the Democrat-controlled state legislature voted Monday to override Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s veto of a minimum wage increase.

It marked the second time that the General Assembly has overturned one of the Republican governor’s vetoes.

The override will ensure that the current minimum hourly wage of $7.65 an hour is boosted to $8 beginning in January, and to $8.25 an hour in 2010. The change will make Connecticut’s minimum wage among the nation’s highest.

“It’s a simple matter of equity,” said Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, saying low-wage workers need the $14 weekly increase as gasoline and food prices are increasing.

House members needed a two-thirds majority – at least 101 votes – to override the veto. The final tally was 102-39.

The Senate’s vote was 25-9, a one-vote margin above the minimum 24 votes needed for the override. Both votes were mostly along party lines.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington currently has the highest minimum wage rate, at $8.07 an hour. Of Connecticut’s neighbors, the minimum wage is $8 in Massachusetts, $7.40 in Rhode Island and $7.15 in New York.

An estimated 65,000 workers in the state receive the minimum wage.

Rell, who supported past minimum wage increases, called Monday’s veto override “a seriously shortsighted decision” that will hurt small businesses during a difficult economic period.

“Even as the national economic picture continues to darken, the legislature has opted to further cloud Connecticut’s business environment,” she said.

Most of Rell’s GOP colleagues agreed.

“Please, before you cast your vote on this bill, think about what you’re doing,” pleaded state Rep. Anthony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, who also owns a small business. “What you’re doing actually is hurting the people you’re trying to help.”

D’Amelio predicted that businesses will cut workers’ hours to cover the pay increase.

Some Democrats called the Republicans’ concerns a red herring. Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said similar dire predictions were made when lawmakers increased the wage in the past, but they never came true.

Sister Teresa Fonti, co-director of the House of Bread soup kitchen in Hartford, said she’s seeing more poor people with jobs seeking assistance.

“Obviously, this salary is not getting them through the week,” she said.

Democratic leaders initially were unsure how many legislators would attend Monday’s veto session because of summer vacations and work schedules.