Here is today's from page of the New York Times. What caught my eye was the sub-heading beneath the headline: "Wall Street Reacts with a 4.6% Plunge".
The use of the word "plunge" to describe yesterday's market action is indicative of the media's and the public's attitude towards fiscal stimulus by congress and monetary/financial action by the Fed and the United States Treasury. I think there is plenty of skepticism about the ultimate effectiveness of government rescue operations. In fact, among the blogs and commentators I read each day, I'd say the prevailing attitude is one of ridicule and cynicism towards these efforts. If I didn't know better, I'd even think that there are many people who actually hope that rescue efforts will fail and that the economy will soon fall off of another cliff.
If I am reading public attitude correctly I think it is consistent with the view that the stock market is very sold out already. The selling that seems to follow every rescue announcement is having less and less effect on the market averages. Indeed, the S&P is now trading just a little below the intraday low it reached on October 10, more than 4 months ago. In the meantime a torrent of bad and discouraging news has not succeeded in driving the market lower and keeping it there.
All in all I think the next big surprise market-wise is going to be a big rally, not a big drop.