Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did I miss something?

Well, the stock market continues to amaze me with its incredible version of the "Limbo Rock" (How low can you go?) With the exception of Monday's unprecedented 900+ point jump, the market has lost big time every day of the month it's been open. The word "panic" hasn't been bandied about much, but yesterday BusinessMirror's John Magnun used it to describe the state of financial affairs he finds exists on Wall Street. Interestingly, he suggests investing in Canada, China and the Phillippines stock markets over our own. As a matter of fact, he went so far as to suggest that turbulent Iraq offered better opportunities for investors if only they traded more than a paltry million dollars a day. Makes one think that the real slide has only just begun. So with all of our portfolios from three-quarters to half of their worth just a few weeks ago, the question begs to be asked: how long will it take for us to recoup our losses? According to experts, five years and more is the normal reply. The upside may be that interest on mortgage payments will continue to be low for some time to come with the caveat that fewer mortgages will be approved because of the tighter finances of most banking institutions. Interest payments on investments will also stay low for the foreseeable future making bonds seem somewhat more attractive in the short run. All of this seems to have started on Ben Bernanke's watch as Federal Reserve Chairman. Bernanke lowered the key rate to 1.5% last week in an effort to stave off the global crisis. So, the question must be asked, from an outsider like me, would this have happened on Alan Greenspans's watch?

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