Motion sickness quantified

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You may have noticed that yesterday was a rough day for the market. And last week had gone so well, too. Shoot. This morning I was talking to some folks over at the electronic trading platform Liquidnet, and one of them pointed me to a Citigroup report that lends nice context to the recent volatility. Here’s a look at some different time periods and the number of days the S&P 500 has moved up or down more than 5% during the trading day:

1950-2000: 27 days
2000-2006: 7 days
Jan. 1-Sept. 30, 2008: 20 days
Since Oct. 1, 2008: 22 days

Historically, we’ve seen a 5% swing less than 1% of the time. Through September, we were running at about 10%. These days, we’re hitting the threshold more than half the time. Wear your seatbelts.

Barbara!

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