Whining not winning.
It is rare to wake up to a market opening and see all signals red. Brings back all those warm and fuzzy feelings from November 2008! Sorry for the sarcasm, but if I don’t laugh about this, I’ll cry.
In my world, the color red indicates the value of a stock, index or fund is down. Green is good. Green means the value is up! No green today. Not one single green. I must admit, this has stolen from me the joy of Christmas colors.
However, it does make for a good knot in my stomach. As I brew my morning coffee, I begin to wonder how the stomachs of my clients are doing. I shake myself and speak aloud “I cannot control the day to day of the markets. Therefore, I can’t let one day shake my confidence in my ability.” That slightly helps.
What really helps is remembering 2008. Or 2001. Or 2000. Or 1998. Or 1994. Maybe even 1987, when a family cousin who owned a seat on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange jumped out of a 30 story window during the “Black Friday” market collapse. Had he waited a few months, he’d see his suicide was a rash decision, to say the least!
Emotions cloud judgment and my emotions this morning were strong! “Bernanke is such an asshole! These god damned Wall Street bankers!” I shouted at the mirror. While alone in my bathroom this morning, I don’t think I am alone in this sentiment.
I began to wonder how I’ll talk to my clients. I needed a metaphor. An easy way to help folks understand this volatility. Had companies across the globe all really lost 2% of their value overnight? Business isn’t synchronized swimming. So, the only way to explain the sell off is emotion. Namely, fear.
Try this analogy: Years ago, I was in line at a local supermarket when I noticed the woman in front of me had a snotty brat in her shopping cart. You know the type of kid; Whiny, crying, spoiled, cringe-inducing. Partially detained by the handle of the shopping cart, his stubby, greedy fingers couldn’t quite reach the candy tantalizing him on the shelf to his right.
“Mommy!” softly at first, “I want some candy.”
“No, Joey, no sweets today, honey.” She said all syrupy as if he were an Angel, not a Devil.
“Mommy!” his tone was now angry, “I want some candy!” he said louder now.
“Not right now Joey.” Mom was still so sweet.
“MOMMY!” he screamed. And then he actually punched her gut! He whacked his mom right in place she let him gestate for months! What a tiny little waste of DNA!
Did mom whack him back? Did she rip him out of the cart and wallop him in the parking lot?
To my shock, she grabbed the candy bar, handed it to him and said “Here, now be quiet!”
Wall Street is the kid. Our government, the mom. My stomach is still in knots. I only wish I could punch Bernanke and Wall Street in their stomachs! In the end though, I know we’ll get through this little tantrum soon.