What Goes Up?

October 14, 2008

So all the guru’s met over the weekend, the traders looked into their crystal balls and presto! That barometer of capitalism the world over, The Dow Jones Industrial Average, bounced back over 900 points Monday. Yippee, hurrah, hurray, zippity-doo-dah, happy days are here again!

I wish it were that easy. It’s not that easy. The 700 billion behemoth bailout isn’t even off the drawing board yet, the Fed’s injecting itself into ownership of the banking system, energy prices remain high and that all important engine of the American economy, the consumer, is still as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

No sir, no way, there’s many miles yet to go and the voyage will be rough. Not as rough as the Great one but there will surely be days when the stock market behaves as a dinghy during a hurricane. Up, down and all around, only safe to dock when the storm has passed. And there in lies the trickiest prediciton of all, just how big is this storm, how long will it last, and where the hell are we in the timeline of it all?

I do think the right honorable Sir Winston has the words appropriate for this time: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

Not much consolation I know, but look back those 60+ years and take solace that in the darkest days of modern civilization democracy and capitalism not only prevailed but kicked butt and this writer firmly believes they will do so again.

The world emerged post WWII an entirely different place, but most certainly a better place. So too shall pass with the stock and financial markets. Turmoil and trepidity may rule today, but confidence and calm will win tomorrow.

Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times (UK) has a fine commentary contrasting the leadship on this mess. And once again the impetus for action comes from across the pond.


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