Credit crisis diary

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Three cheers ... oops we don't have time

God Bless American optimism. The Dow opened 700 points down yesterday but clawed its way back in early trading. As the index went positive, an enormous cheer went up on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Unfortunately, the duration of the celebration was longer than the time the Dow actually spent in the black. By the time traders looked back up at their screens, the market was plummeting once again.

Fat cats are already feeling thinner

Those demanding big pay cuts for fat cat bank executives should console themselves with this news: the bosses of Britain's biggest banks have already lost millions in this crisis according to analysis from It says, for example, that the value of the Barclays stake held by Bob Diamond, pictured, is down by £9m this year, while Sir Fred Goodwin and Andy Hornby, the bosses of Royal Bank of Scotland are £7m and £3.5m worse off respectively.

A book already ahead of its time

Get your order in now. A comprehensive new tome coming out next month from American writer Charles Ellis could be worth snapping up. Right now, A History of Goldman Sachs could be subtitled So far at least. By next month, who knows whether the mighty US investment bank will still be around? Mr Ellis's final chapter will need a bit of updating, but it could really be the last one.

Chilling, but funny

Heard the latest credit crunch gag? What's the capital of Iceland? About £4.50 right now.

Only one previous (not so careful) owner

Talking of Iceland, anyone interested in buying it? Some wag has put the country up for sale on the auction site eBay. Bidding began at 10p but was up to £10m by close of play last night. We assume, of course, that the auction is a spoof (particularly since the seller is one S. Palin), though given the country's woes, you just never know. Maybe Iceland's finance minister is posting anonymously.

Warning: this crunch may damage health

Don't be too hard on our Icelandic friends by the way – the stress is beginning to tell over there. The president of the country had minor heart surgery earlier this week, and yesterday Iceland's central bank was forced to deny rumours its governor had suffered a stroke. He has, however, been ordered home to rest by doctors.