Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Wandering Thoughts
I just wanted to comment on yesterday's market "correction".

It's funny to watch the news and see how it's being portrayed. For example, a big headline this morning is that a computer glitch occurred at the New York Stock Exchange. This headline clearly leaves the impression that the decline was caused by a problem with a machine, not the economy. Indeed, the NYSE did have a computer glitch. But that glitch caused trades to be delayed in reporting, and then reported all at once. In other words, the selling was still going on, it was just reported funny. Another meme is that the China market correction caused the selloff. The only problem with that is if you look at a chart of the Chinese stock market, it has been going straight up like a rocket for some time. Yesterday's decline in China was a blip. Plus, other markets in the world didn't even register a sniffle based on China.

CNBC and most of the economic pundits are still calling it a limited event. Bernanke came out in Congressional testimony and talked up the economy. But despite the other headline of "Stocks Rebound Fitfully From Big Selloff", the market is tepid at best.

The real story that isn't getting quite as much press is the revised GDP for last quarter, down a whopping 1.3% from the original released number (original: 3.5%, revised: 2.2%). That's quite a haircut in revision, one of the largest in a long long time showing an economy that is moving along at a slowing pace. The other bit of news was new home sales, which were the lowest in 13 years. No matter what the National Association of Realtors say, the housing bottom is not here yet. Also, virtually unreported, was that durable goods orders were down significantly and defaults on home mortgages are going through the roof.

As they say, other than that, "how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?"

Bottom line is that the economy is slowing. Perhaps the delusional notion that the economy is ripping right along has finally been pierced with a bit of reality that the economy is, indeed, slowing. Now the question is how much will it slow? And if you knew the answer to that, you could get quite rich.