Well it is Christmas Eve and amazingly the ASX All Ordinaries has defied Wall Street and closed higher. Although I am of course pleased, I know that unless there is a mother of all stock market rallies that 2008 is going to be a shocker for shares. It seems a great result for this year would for the All Ords to climb back to around 4000, although this would still be well below where I thought the bottom of the market would be. (i.e around 4800) It is dangerous business trying to pick the bottom of the market and I certainly made a mess of my attempt to do so!
However just when I was feeling a little depressed I read an article about how Wayne Swan sent a Christmas message to all Treasury staff. Apparently he said in the message and I quote: “We have broken new ground and managed to keep up with fast moving events”. I thought to myself, isn’t it good that the Treasurer still has a sense of humour after making a mess of his first year in the role. I mean he cannot honestly think he has kept up with events, after all he was fighting inflation when he should have been trying to keep the economy growing and he has never really been up to dealing with the problems he has faced this year.
Anyway the stock market has not been good to us in 2008 and as I wrote in It hurts. It’s a Bear Market! there is a lot of despair and gloom around during market downturns. Journalists who have never managed a business suddenly becomes corporate gurus and the public looks for someone to blame and this time around it is the bankers. If we are honest with ourselves then we have to accept we are all to blame for the excesses of the last few years. I do not recall any investor ever complaining about the great stock market returns in the years leading up to 2008, or shoppers being unhappy about cheap imports.
We all done our bit to add a little extra fuel to the fire and so it is no use blaming someone else because our fingers have been burnt. Blaming greedy bankers may make some people feel better, but it will not avoid future market meltdowns. It is also pretty useless running around using terms like “extreme capitalism”, but I guess you cannot blame politicians for making some mileage out of the current crisis. After all they might for a brief time, find that they are less disliked than company CEO’s, bankers, analysts and brokers.
But it is now Christmas Eve; time shut down the computer, stop thinking about stocks, maybe eat too much and just enjoy the festive season.
Merry Christmas to all from a chilly Fukuoka. (Japan)