The G20 World As We Know It
Markets may need time to recoup.
Greetings from New York, where, as a born cynic, I spent yesterday's media and market celebration of world unity paring down my portfolio. From the lows of March to the highs of yesterday, the S&P rose 26%. Bottoms were called. Bad news was bought.
Our president seemed cool in a way most of us have never actually seen. I felt neither enthused nor enraged. I was reflective; an unacceptable emotion, as far as television producers are concerned.
President Obama, his rich baritone betraying his weariness, said negotiating in a G20 world was more fatiguing than "if there's just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy." He didn't add "and a long drag on an onerously taxed Marlboro," but he didn't need to. The man was tired and ready to chill. I'm with you, Mr. President. I think the market is, as well.
The Yankees unveiled their new billion-dollar stadium yesterday. The Yankees' timing --starting a project during a bull market and finishing it on time but in a different era -- called to mind the Empire State Building. Construction of the tower started in early 1930 and ended after 13 months. The workers were the highest paid and the highest skilled in a country spinning into depression. At a pace as fast as a story per day, the welders and craftsmen literally raced their way into unemployment. The Empire State Building reached its full glory in late 1932 to signal to New Yorkers that FDR had been elected.
The stock market bottomed sometime around FDR's election. The 2 decades that followed took more than a few brandies and smokes to endure. Climbing to the top of the Empire State Building in 1932, F. Scott Fitzgerald noted that the view had an unintended impact. From the top of the building, it became clear that New York wasn't a world unto itself but simply a city, surrounded on all sides. Wall Street seems to have recently experienced much the same thing - and our commander in chief knows it as well.
I don't smoke for real, but I'd take it up for a chance to hang out with FDR, Churchill and President Obama, sip some brandy and talk about the world.
F. Scott could join us, but only if we had enough brandy for 8.
Here's what I'm doing, when not weeping for the Jazz Age and ripping towards 40:
- A name I'm more actively thinking about selling: Mosaic (MOS).
- This week's reminders that the ratings agencies are starting to matter not a whit: Macy's (M), Capital One (COF) and JC Penney (JCP).
- Shoulda seen that one coming: MasterCard (MA).
- Stock whose product I could use to off myself, for having not bought the stock despite playing Hamlet with it $15 pts lower a month ago: Toyota (TM).
- Games I'm not playing: "Keep up with the daily move." The key is building a lead and plugging away. I'm utterly under-invested but not short. Good enough.
- Things I'm counting besides money and years: Blessings; which are what I'm going to spend an hour or 2 counting starting right about now.
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