Wednesday, May 09, 2018

"...Interesting Times..."

     It certainly seemed like interesting times yesterday, with the Administrating repudiating one nuclear-limitation deal with one worrying country while angling to set up a similar deal with another worrisome nation.

     How you feel about the situation is likely to hinge on partisan politics: Mr. Obama's Administration made the Iran deal and Mr. Trump has been vocal in calling it a bad bargain; meanwhile, what might happen with North Korea remains highly speculative, with nuclear disarmament no more in evidence than a flicker of exposed ankle at a Victorian party.

     I'm suspicious of party politics as the sole lens through which to look at world events, but what else do can you do?

      Turns out there is another tool.  It's cheap and easy to use, though limited: it will tell you the impact of a major policy or action, with a fair indication of magnitude, but puzzling out if the impact is a good thing or a bad thing for you or wider world requires interpretation: the daily graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Investors -- "the market" generally -- like stability and predictability for the world in which they cast their knucklebones.*  The market reacts to news -- scare them and it contracts; give them happy news and it soars.  There's a quick "bobble" yesterday afternoon, peaking around 2:30 p.m., dipping down and then returning to par for the remainder of the day: the market wasn't terribly worried by the President's announcement.  If they're not, I likely don't need to be, either.
* The child of Depression babies, I grew up with the belief that "playing the market" was the very same thing as "playing the ponies," only on a larger scale and done by better-dressed bettors: people with money to burn risking it in the hopes of making more money, an activity limited to those who could afford to lose and nothing a decent, hardworking middle-class person would do.  I'm told that's no longer the prevalent attitude, but when people talk about investing their 401k in stocks, it strikes me as an insanely foolish risk: that's your retirement you're gambling with!  YMMV.

1 comment:

Paul said...

The depression was caused by many things. Every one playing the stocks on margin was the biggest. when wall street called in the markers no one had the cash which made the whole house of cards come crashing down.

Or at least that is one reason.

I have to agree with trump that the iran deal was bad. If you have to send them billions of small unmarked bills to establish your legacy, you are doing it wrong.