Friday, December 05, 2008

The Dumbest Day in the Dow...


Has there ever been a more important story than today's news about September job losses being more than previously reported, October job losses being more than previously reported, and now November job losses at 533,000, the worst month since this month in 1974? At least in modern times?

Wall St could care less. In fact, it added +259 points to the Dow today, over 3% in a day, today, the day we learned that America lost over 1.25 MILLION JOBS in the last 3 months.


I used to think that the professionals on Wall St, who do this stuff every day and have billions of dollars under management, probably knew more than I do about markets, stocks, and macro outlooks. Then the subprime crisis hit last year, and the truth started coming out. I don't know why I made such a bad assumption, but now... I... know... better. And so should we all.

This article from Reuters says that investors cited a decline in gas prices for such optimism on a day like today, because consumers will find so much more money in their pockets and so will boost spending. I hope I'm proven wrong, but for now I am stunned, when I thought Wall St could never stun me again. Unbelievable. Let's dissect this "logic": a) gas prices move lower, because b) consumer demand has been eviscerated by a deteriorating job market and lower spending, therefore c) consumers will start spending more and the economy will benefit. What?

If there are no jobs, there is nothing to spend. If there is no credit, it's worse. If all the American economy produced were enough jobs to keep up with the growth of our population, we would need 11 million more jobs today than we have, just to keep pace.

These people on Wall St think there is a Santa Claus, a Tooth Fairy, and an Easter Bunny all on a select committee to save the economy with their magical powers. They're like junkies in withdrawal, needing one more fix of irrational exuberance. They think Obama (Santa?) is suddenly going to come to their rescue, as if the damage done isn't really as bad as it is, as if the whole solution to our problem only requires a simple plan, but every person in the world just hasn't seen it yet -- except Obama's inner circle? I have tremendous respect for the capabilities of the President-Elect and his new team, and I even have guarded optimism about it, but today's market action is sad and frightening for what it reveals about the big Wall St players, even today. They still do not get it. And that is frankly breathtaking.

That doesn't mean that you and I have to fall into the same trap. Look folks, the economy is in the tank. Yes, it will turn around, but not next month, and probably not next year.

This kind of infantile fantasy on display today on Wall St is shameful, pathetic, and frightening. We are Americans. And if we have learned nothing else in this crisis, it's that we need now to grow up and sober up, and stop living on the empty fantasies and promises peddled by Wall St.

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