Look out below...? Good news and bad news.
July 13, 2002
In case you have not gotten the full story on Bush's hypocrisy in declaring war against corporate fraud, read below. Even if you have, this journalist has some excellent commentary. I hate to say it, but it is the most pathetic display you could imagine from a president. This may even beat Clinton's "depends on what the definition of 'is' is'"! (That's my attempt at not being partisan.)
To add to the suspense of the markets, we also have "D-Day" coming August 14 where corporate CEO from American's 945 largest companies will have to certify their financial results all the way back to 2001. Going forward CEOs will have to sign off on all financial statements. Needless to say, there are probably lots of criminals scrambling with their lawyers figuring out what to do. (Here's an aside - while we are cleaning house in the corporate boardrooms, it is also about time we clean up the books in Washington! I was reading an alarming article that mentions how the financial engineering our Feds do every year would get any CEO or CFO instant jail time.... Sadly, these cards too will be falling apart soon as our budget deficit balloons from completely unrealistic expectations about an economic and stock market recovery.)
So what's the good news? Well, I was reading Barron's today and almost the entire thing reeked with negativity. Two separate articles even called for a Great Depression to hit the U.S. soon. Typically, we could take this as an indication that negativity is at a high point and things can't possibly get worse. The bad news? Well, I read, and even re-read, and the articles and the logic sounded pretty convincing to me! Yikes! I won't bore you with the economic details at this point, but suffice to say that our economy and, and particular the stock markets, continue breaking records that have not been seen since the Depression of the 30s. I keep reading things like "never in the post war period has...." The only caveat I can find is that *some* of these comparisons are between how far we have come down from the peaks of 2000. As these corporate frauds continue rolling out, we will see that the peaks of 2000 (and the 90s for that matter), were more mirage than reality. (I made this claim last missive or two ago). What we could find is that the economy is just continuing as it always has and always will - just with fewer smoke and mirrors than before. Needless to say, I will once again be reviewing the book that started all these missives back in late 2000: "The Coming Internet Depression"....
Anyway, what I will say about the market is "look out below." It still may not get to the inevitable "bottom" in a straight line, but you can be sure we are not there yet. And given the amount of people out there still trying to call the bottom (and worse yet, trying to encourage others to join in the cash-burning fest), the bottom is probably much further away than any of us dare dread... One crazy sign of the times is that I see some of these unrepentant bullish commentators use the same breath to say that we are at (or near) the bottom, but we should only expect low single digit returns going forward - is THAT supposed to be encouraging?!?!
Be careful out there!
The Ballot Dance - TSC
Why the Markets Don't Harken to Bush
By Daniel Gross
Special to TheStreet.com
07/12/2002 02:48 PM EDT