COMMENTS: Stocks Tank as Crude Soars

It was a shaky day on financial markets, as the cost of a barrel of crude oil rose to $139 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Wall Street by 358 points to 11453, almost as low as it was two years ago. Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money, told NBC anchor Brian Williams that the stock market would continue to decline until the housing market bottomed out. Cramer predicted that would be "by this time next year…that is our best hope." For NBC's In Depth. Kerry Sanders told us that communities near military bases, such as Quantico Va and San Diego, are an especially weak part of the housing market. Sanders explained that military families often choose to live in homes rather than the Spartan barracks on the base itself. Yet they are rotated more frequently than other homeowners so they must sell cheap when ordered, even when the market is at its weakest.

Both ABC's John Berman and CBS' Priya David picked up on a prediction by CIBC World Markets that crude oil would cost $200 per barrel and gasoline $7 per gallon by 2010. ABC's Berman warned that CIBC's number might be legitimate: "Sometimes predictions that seem outlandish at the time have a way of coming true," he suggested, reminding us of previous scoffed-at forecasts of crude at $80 from Boone Pickens and $105 from Goldman Sachs. CBS' David envisioned hard times for low income motorists, lighter commuter traffic and less congestion, and European-style smaller automobiles. NBC's take on the high price of crude oil involved flying Janet Shamlian 100 miles off shore by helicopter to profile life on board Chevron's floating Platform Genesis in the 3000-foot waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The 90-person platform has been pumping oil and natural gas from twelve wells for the past ten years. Genesis expects to continue for another eight until the wells run dry.


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