Surprise! We are still in a bear market.
Let me see if I understand this correctly.
"A jump in unemployment sent stocks sharply lower Friday as investors feared that Americans won't soon deviate from their tightened budgets."
That means that someone thought consumers would go back to spending money, or realistically increasing debt, because the new year started? Or they thought that the $120 a month less in taxes (for only 4 months) President Obama has proposed was going to spur new home purchases? At the same time that nearly every industry in the nation is slashing jobs?
It must be great in the world that some of these economists live in.
We have lost the most jobs in this nation since 1945. That's at the end of WWII, when we scaled back from the massive military supply we needed for the war. And I believe more people had more savings and less debt than today - even adjusting for inflation. And the Government had none of the debt we have today, or will soon have even more of if Congress and President Obama get to spend as they plan on doing.
How could anyone look at the 2nd half of 2008 and not expect consumer spending to continue downwards. To expect the stock market to continue in the bear market that it's been in for months now. I mean what did they expect, President Obama would smile and the world would just step up and buy stocks?
President Obama is a Liberal Democrat. He has said from day one that he will increase the deficit, spending more money than ever before. He has made it explicitly clear that he intends to get even more money from fewer sources, business and the higher incomes. What exactly counts as higher income keeps changing, and getting smaller. And business really loves to have to pay more money as sales shrink.
Let's not forget that with the mismanagement of the Fed and the Treasury (neither of which is President Obama's fault - given) we have wasted billions of bailout dollars, have a line of industries waiting for their turn at the free money ATM called Government, and inflation is the one word no one wants to talk about. And inflation will be the one thing that really kicks everyone's ass.
Of course President Obama will say that the sky is falling tomorrow if he doesn't get to give away all our money. That's polispeak, meaning that he wants to look good at trying something that can't work so he has some political clout before it all falls apart. Then he can point backwards in time and blame everything that fails in his plan on President Bush. Politics as usual.
Of course these "old politics", that President Obama promised to banish, are very good at keeping political clout but horrendous for low wage earners and small business. The stock market knows this. That's why its a bear market. And as we approach the inauguration, I expect even more selling. I mean why have an investment when the taxes on it will cost more than you expect to make in the next 2 or 5 years.
As a stockbroker I learned to look for capitulation in the market. That emotional point when people just give up. That's when smart money jumps in and buys. Except that the emotional selling all happened in September and October. Since the election smart money is selling. And that means things are really going to get worse.
Until there is a reason to buy stocks, the market will continue to slowly slide down. Never in just a straight line, but trend down it will. The Democrat-led Congress will authorize spending in new programs that will not help any one get a job or start a business. The President will come up with plans on how the Government can take care of everyone, while being in every pocket deeper than before. And $1.2 trillion dollars in debt will look like a target to strive for in coming years.
I've said it before and I will again, a Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid Congress with the most Liberal Democratic President in decades equates to double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, rock bottom consumer confidence, and business bankruptcies all not seen since the Carter Adminsitration - if we are lucky to have it that good.
So who is surprised? Not me.