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The Occupy Wall Street Index: The Party's Over!


The Occupy Wall Street Index sees movement in financials, while the mood at Zuccotti Park turns more serious.

It's been about two weeks since we invented The Occupy Wall Street Index (see: The Occupy Wall Street Index: 9 Companies the 99% Loves to Hate), so it's time for our second update on the portfolio, as well as on important happenings around the movement.

As you can see in this chart, the Occupy Wall Street Index broke out to the upside last Thursday on news of an EU debt-crisis plan, primarily due to rallies in Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM):

(Click to enlarge)

However, the index came back to Earth Tuesday as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum on the aforementioned plan, driving worries that Greece will reject the plan and collapse into the Aegean sea.

In related Wall Street news, the 99% may be interested to see more turmoil among financial institutions. Futures broker MF Global (MF), run by Goldman alum Jon Corzine (a card-carrying member of the 1%), collapsed under the combined weight of both its European debt holdings and fraud allegations. Also, we saw Credit Suisse (CS) announced sweeping job cuts in its investment-banking division.

But perhaps most importantly, Occupy Wall Street appears have to scored a victory in the student-loan department, as represented by Index member SLM Holdings (SLM) a.k.a. Sallie Mae. Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced a plan to cap student loan payments at 10% of income beginning in 2012, rather than 2014 as previously planned -- a move that may go over big with the 99% during next year's election.

And here at Minyanville, we were happy to see that the Wall Street Journal, owned by index member News Corp (NWSA), covered the Index on its Total Return blog this morning. (This follow's last week's mentions by Forbes and Barron's.)


So on Sunday afternoon, I headed down to Zuccotti Park to survey the landscape and play investigative reporter à la April O'Neil.

One thing is clear -- the party is over at Occupy Wall Street -- at least in Zuccotti Park.

This was the scene I saw on September 21, just a few days after the protests hit New York City:

(Click to enlarge)

Some folks were very fired up, though the overall vibe was still fairly mellow.

But after a cold and wet Saturday night that sent some of the 99% to the hospital with hypothermia, only the most grizzled and passionate protesters are still hanging in there.

One sign of the times: There are no longer any naked women twirling hula hoops.

Here's one beaten-down member of the protesters sporting the hottest utilitarian-fashion trend at Zuccotti Park -- plastic bags inside boots:

(Click to enlarge)

And here's a view of the tent city that's sprouted up:

(Click to enlarge)

So yes, the mood down at Zuccotti Park has gotten a lot more serious. Some Occupy Wall Street observers see the nasty weather as a disruptive force, but I'm not sure I agree with that point just yet.

One thing's for sure -- those seeking novelty have left. But rain and snow may actually motivate the most stubborn of the protesters to show the world that they're willing to hang on indefinitely. However, they had better invest in good boots and thermal underwear ASAP. There's no better way to spend the stockpile of donations Occupy Wall Street has received.

On a lighter note, after talking to a 22-year-old recent college graduate from upstate New York, I discovered something interesting -- a great many of downtown's occupiers enjoy eating at the nearby McDonald's (MCD) over at 160 Broadway.

This sounds like blasphemy for the movement, but they ought to spend as much money as possible there to thank Ronald McDonald for access to his lovely bathrooms.

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