Given the events of the past few days it is once again time to examine the immortal question posed by children and traders alike, “are we there yet”?
Nope, not yet, we aren’t there yet, not even close. The bottom hasn’t been found in the credit markets or the stock market and, unfortunately, we still have a way to go.
I am not sure when the bottom will be found but we will know we are getting there when the U.S. economy makes it for 60 days without a run on a financial institution. After 60 days without a major financial crisis I will write “Hey kids, we’re there”. But until then, the trip continues.
When we get “there” I hope we don’t look back on the good old days of high leverage and spending beyond our means and wish we could go back to that simpler time; a time before mark to market accounting and accountability. I hope “there” is a happy place where the U.S. has a future because we have low unemployment, high productivity, low deficits and lots of investment and savings. But then again, I still believe in the tooth fairy.
In June I wrote that we weren’t there yet because we flunked the “60 day test” and because Lehman Brothers and other banks and investment banks “would have expired but for the unbelievable work of Bernanke”. I started getting terrible hate e-mail. So, I started using a food tester before I ate.
A little later in June I was on FOX Business Network and repeated that we weren’t there. Later that day several people that with uncontrollable anger syndrome called me on the telephone and randomly shouted obscenities at me. So, I stopped opening my own snail mail.
A few weeks later I wrote a series of blog articles on money supply and its implications that were published on Seeking Alpha. I suggested that economists were “making up data” that didn’t exist and Fed policy was going to result in credit rationing. I was called names on blogs and received comments from “on line screamers” who believe in screaming often, loud and with nasty language. So, I had my kids start using my wife’s maiden name at school.
But, despite the threats, the name calling and the blog screams, we weren’t there in June, July or August and still aren’t there in September. And, Fed policy that caused credit rationing didn’t include rations for Freddie, Fannie, Lehman and, now, maybe, AIG.
Since June when I first suggested that we had a way to go the Dow, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are down approximately 7.80%, 9.43% and 9.08%, respectively.
I’m sorry we aren’t there yet. And, I don’t like it when people call me names. I am sorry that so many people have trusted senior executives at their companies and those executives have let them down. I am sorry the regulators have let us down and I am sorry that investors are losing money.
But, we still aren’t there yet and until we have 60 days without a financial crisis we aren’t going to be there.
For non-professional investors that want to play the market I have some advice. Before buying stocks you need to answer a more fundamental question; red or black?