Monday, October 6, 2008

Financial Panic


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. . . .

- - From The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

The contagion in the world's economy is the credit crunch brought about in reaction to the subprime crisis. The stock markets have been infected and are tanking as investor's flee. For the first time in four years, the DOW has fallen below 10,000. Markets in Asia and Europe are tumbling while the EU nations scratch about for some sort of response. Coming on the heels of the U.S. bailout, while this is not the sealing of economic doom, it is a measure of how dire this crisis has become. I will update stories below the fold as they become available.

Panic Engulfs Global Stock Market - "World markets suffered massive losses Monday, striking four-year lows, as panic-stricken investors doubted whether a Wall Street bailout package would stem the global financial crisis."

Euro-markets tumble while the EU searches for a response - "Investors will learn today whether the Paulson bail-out - fattened to $850bn (£480bn) by Congress - can begin to halt the death spiral in the credit system. So far, the response looks terrible."

CNBC's Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" is saying now is the time to get out of the stock market. He predicts a 20% drop in value for stocks in the near term.

The Lamps Are Going Out - "Today, prominent members of the political, financial, and journalistic establishment are warning of a Depression, and those of us who resist their panic solutions are accused of being crackpots or lunatics."

Speaking Ex Venalicium - "Pope Benedict XVI today said that the global credit crisis shows that the world's financial systems are "built on sand" and that only the works of God have "solid reality"."



The full text of William Butler Yeats's poem, The Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight; somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?







2 comments:

Paul_In_Houston said...

Jim Cramer predicts a 20% drop in value for stocks in the near term.

WOW! Didn't the Dow drop 22% or 23% IN ONE DAY in 1987?
Did we survive that? Are we still here?

Something that struck me about the headlines today.

At one point, the Dow had dropped almost 800 points
“See there, the bailout didn’t do any good!”
(in spite of Bush’s warning that this will take a while).

But, at the close, it was down about 370 points.

Forget percentages; my shaky math seems to show it recovered a bit over half the loss.

If this is the Apocalypse, why did it recover anything at all? Why didn’t it just keep going down?

Is it remotely possible that it is adjusting to a new equilibrium, will eventually stabilize there, and the world may still be here for a while yet?

Just wondering :-)

GW said...

You are of course correct. But that was not based on the credit crunch we are seeing today, nor was 87 crash based on a truly fundamental disconnect in our financial system that we have with the mortgage situation. That one day loss was driven in large measure by simple computerized trading. Indeed, for all the problems we are having with mortgages, many more are on the way. Alt A mortgages are expected to be the next class to go into large scale default.

I was never fazed by the 87 crash, nor by the S&L crash. Now I am concerned. The size of the stock market loss does not bother me anywhere near as much as the credit freeze. I am hopeful that Treasury will start to get this unscrewed, but a small spot in the back of my admittedly small brain is saying this could spiral out of control a la 1929.