The End of Days

Since the beginning of recorded history men have speculated about the “end of days”.  This would be the time that the world as we know it would come to a merciful end.  Usually, talk of the end of days involves religious issues and often comes with horrible visions of doom and destruction.  Well, it seems to me that a case can be made – at least in the financial realm – that we are now living in the end times.  During my time in Wall Street I have witnessed all sorts of dislocations in the market, but I must admit that I have never seen the magnitude of problems that are plaguing the financial markets today.  Huge changes are now at work in the American economy that could very well end up very badly for those still inclined to dabble in stocks.  Paramount among these changes is that a house is now a place to live in and not a bank. As equity in real estate melts away, the source of ready cash for consumers has ceased to be.  I have talked about the “wealth effect” and the negative portents it has for economic growth in the U.S. in the years ahead. An entire generation of Americans has made lots of money in real estate and this boom has fueled the economy in a very positive direction, but it has now disappeared. While the wealth effect is very serious, a problem of equal importance is the current price of oil.  The American economy cannot long withstand oil prices at these levels, and the political class in the U.S. has proven totally incompetent in dealing with the crisis and offering future options for energy use.  Now I could go on and on with further economic problems, but most flow from the two above-mentioned items.  At the start of this week I am still very negative on the stock market in general, and would be selling into any rallies

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