Category : Money Marketing

Good Years Follow Fallow Years

A long standing definition of a bear market is when the market ignores all good news and reacts negatively to the smallest bad news. Conversely a bull market sees us all ignore any raft of bad news and yet set the market running on any small amount of good news.

So what do we call the current situation, one where the market drops 5% on bad days, based on a mere rumour, then claws its way back based on any semblance of good news? The answer; confused, fearful, uneducated, highly speculative, stupid or just recessionary?

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Deceptively Clever

As gold hit new highs I was reminded of a lunch back in the mid 90’s, with a stock broker friend. How things have changed, we walked to the restaurant from the JSE, in central Johannesburg and it was a big day as from recollection gold had just gone through the $350 dollars an ounce mark, the sun shone and all seemed right with the world!

At $1900 an ounce gold still does not really thrill me, but then as a dull Lancastrian pommy I have never been part of the love affair that many South African’s share with that beautiful unique metal. At $2500 an ounce I do know a number of guys who will cash in their wedding rings and at $3000 an ounce carjacking in parts of Cape Town will change. Yes, the criminals will be carrying pliers not guns, there is at least an ounce in a gold front tooth!

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In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing

The benefit of writing a column is that you get the wonderful opportunity to put onto paper things that otherwise sit and fester in your mind without any means of escape, for weeks if not months.

I also write a private diary, which helps between my more formal writing attempts. To be honest I do not know what I would do without this ability to clear the clutter. It is a little like the light in your bedroom as a child, for an hour or so every night you could read and through books travel the world and every possible dimension. Then click, the light goes off and Mom or Dad confine you to your own thoughts and sleep.

This last month has been an unbelievable world in which to live, natural and human disasters around the globe have belittled any problems or issues I personally have. The loss of family, friends, home, liberty and or respect simply dwarfs my problems and as far as I know those of the people close to me.

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Life is never dull

We are not just living in interesting times we are actually part of a world that is changing by the day. This leads to that old proverb and problem that we often cannot see the wood for the trees.

In the financial markets the scale of the changes that have occurred over the last six months is truly daunting. The refinancing of the corporate world, that was all the rave over the last 24 months, leading to such old dependables as GM declaring bankruptcy, has switched to concerns about the viability of nations themselves.

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The world’s great fraud has been established

The world’s greatest fraud has been established! The top global bankers managed to crash the financial systems, causing damage that will take a decade to recover, yet the culprits remain and will always remain, free and unaccountable.

The wonderful movement of America’s top bankers from the private to the public sector and then back again, shows that the lunatics have really taken over the asylum.

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You need to be in it to win it

For many the end of 2010 and the birth of 2011 was a point of greater than normal celebration. The last year has been a troubled and often a confusing time, with some exceptional highs and lows, perhaps 2011 heralds a period of more stability and normality.

South Africa may have celebrated the FIFA circus, otherwise known as the World Cup, but thousands also lost their jobs and homes. The sickly veneer of soccer democracy, that is Sepp Platter’s road show, brought us some light relief and national pride, but like a brightly coloured foil wrapper on a rotten chocolate the show moved on and we were back dealing with the raw daily realities of life.

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Viva la Revolution

They are revolting in the souk and disgusted in the casbah. Watching the news at the moment is complicated, as multiple revolutions in numerous Arab and Muslim states have segued into one long stream of sound bites and scenes of cheering people, you need a few moments to establish whether we are looking at Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan or Libya!

One of the profound impacts of this wave of totalitarian rejection, is that we see these people finally for what they are. Not what the US, UK, Israel or any other nation, with a hidden agenda desire. No, we see them in their humanity, they are ordinary individuals and families just like us, although seemingly braver than we would ever be.

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Circle of Life

Twenty years ago I was sat in England and somehow convinced myself that elephants were about to become extinct. That led eventually to me selling up, leaving my job, getting dumped by the then girlfriend and driving out of London, on my “Big Adventure”. This resulted in me eventually arriving, six months later, in Cape Town.

By the time, however, I arrived in Cameroon, by way of France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria I was already convinced that the elephant was not in fact anywhere near becoming extinct, but was actually doing rather well. There were some counties south of Cameroon where no doubt animal protection came second to the need for food. Zaire for example, as Congo was at that time, was amazing but there was nothing that didn’t find itself onto a plate.

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Have a Financial Giggle

If you think that you are more miserable than ever and you are in your late thirties then you are probably right!

A recent piece of scientific research has shown some remarkable results into how many times a day we humans laugh, giggle or are genuinely amused and happy. The happiest group were, not surprisingly, kids under ten but what was amazing to me was that these lucky tots laugh and giggle up to 300 times a day.

This happiness barometer then tails off over the years and hits rock bottom in our mid to late thirties.

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The Secret of Success

As a regular traveller within SA and an unfortunate user of very early flights I can state that the economic recovery is well under way! The reasoning behind that prognosis is very simple, but then simplicity has always worked. The man behind the Dow-Jones index originally used the simple test of checking how many chimneys were being used at the steel mills and other factories, as a sign of industrial well being. I believe that a suitably reliable indicator in the 21st century is the length of the queue at airport security at 5.30am. Three years ago that queue, even allowing for inefficiencies, was daunting and quite unbelievably long.

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