Wall Street: European politics still Greek to them

Euro-mess has U.S. traders as confused as European voters.

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2012 – Short piece this morning, as there’s not much to add after Monday’s day of confusion. The French Socialists still don’t have a majority in the French parliament—those elections will be held in about a month. And the leftist winners of Sunday’s vote in Greece have officially failed to form a government, so there’ll be more and more elections until someone can put together a coalition.

On one hand, you have to admire the European parliamentary form of government. Pretty much every flavor of political party gets to cause trouble and force concessions for their pet projects. On the other hand, if you think about it, it only takes two parties to effect the same kind of outcome in the U.S.—namely, gridlock for the people, and more goodies for the fat cats and the politicians they own.

Bolsheviks negotiating with Curzon.

Say what you will, those old Bolshies knew how to negotiate. Singlemindedly create diversions while always winning the hand, as in this cartoon lampooning the process.

We are truly in late-stage capitalism, a once-vibrant, competitive business way of life that once brought to the average American citizen the very best of lives and lifestyles in the history of mankind. How easily we’ve thrown it away to fund unresponsive governments that no longer work.

This situation is reflected in the market today, incapable as it is of finding any clear direction whether in forward or reverse.

Reverse is likely to be the hallmark of this morning’s opening moments. But then, who knows? The market is oversold to varying degrees, and thus should really get a nice bounce anywhere from today through, say, Thursday. But are people already selling in May and going away? With the low trading volume—induced by another late-capitalist phenomenon, high frequency trading (HFT) in which investing is magically transformed into a video game—it’s really tough to get a real read on trading sentiment.

Technicals are calling for some kind of bottom right now or thereabouts, a nice bounce, then a final low, which then, according to the McClellan Oscillator’s current reading, should propel a really good rally through June and into July. That said, it’s hard to see where a big rally is coming from today. That said, this market will render any prediction into the moral equivalent of egg on your face, so we’ll stop short of that.

Confused? So is yours truly. Once again, let’s keep the powder dry and look mostly for yield if we must look at all. In a decline, all stocks will drop. But those protected by swell dividends—and there are a lot of them—will hang in there better than the others for the most part.

This almost makes one long for the days of iron-fisted dictators and dictator-wannabes. They knew what they wanted, and bamboozled any politician who tried to negotiate with them. That’s the subject of our cartoon above, where the Commies “negotiated” a nice, permanent chunk of Poland for themselves with British pols in the World War I era, stoutly maintaining that stance through World War II. It resulted in a slice of historic Poland going permanently over to the territorial Soviet Union.

Problem is, the Commies in those days knew how to get results. Today’s Congressional Commies get no results at all and then blame them on the Republicans.

Late stage capitalism. No direction. No leadership. Just like today’s market open.


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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