Sunday, August 23, 2009

Signing the Dow

Ok Ok, settle down guys, it's just a cartoon. I happen to think it's pretty funny, though I'm embarrassed at my drawing skills, which are obviously severely limited. Don't sue me, OK? :-)

However, it's occurred to me that some of you guys over at Goldman Sachs probably are geniuses, just like everybody says. And, assuming you finally got your High-Frequency Trading software back, which enables you to do so many thousands or millions (whatever) trades a second, and assuming you're too arrogant (why shouldn't you be, you're geniuses, right?) to care what everyone's saying about this type of software making it possible to manipulate the market "in unfair ways," then I have a proposition for you. Because after all, becoming world famous is probably even more of an incentive than making lots of money, and by doing what I'm suggesting you do, you will definitely become world famous, so . . .

Here's the challenge. Take a good look at my cartoon. Do a bit of genius type thinking. And figure out a way to use your really amazing software to do something even more amazing than has ever been done in history. Use every bit of programming skill you can muster and actually do in real life what I've only dreamt of in my cartoon: sign your name to the Goddamned Dow by manipulating the Hell out of it, microsecond by microsecond, just make it dance to your tune all the way from the opening bell to the closing bell -- and listen for the huge round of applause you'll get at the end of that trading day.

Don't worry. You won't get arrested. Because signing the Dow is not, last time I checked, against the law. And if you get fired, so what? The genius that can do this trick can do anything with the market, so you'll be getting plenty of offers.

Hey, if a group of Japanese chemists can manipulate bacteria to draw a picture like this,

then a red blooded, blood sucking, shameless and greedy American trader ought to be able to do something even more spectacular -- and egotistical -- with the Dow.

Go for it guys. Let's see who can get there first.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Is the Market Being Manipulated?

I wonder . . .

Re-Born Again

I was SO proud of myself. I thought I'd really invented a great new line. (Actually a variation on an old one.) Get this: A Sucker Is Reborn Every Minute.

But just to be sure, I did an internet search. And there it was, multiplied five times, on five different websites. My favorite is this photo someone put on Flickr:

Just made me think about all the other "bright ideas" I've had over the years, back in the days before the Internet. Sigh . . . Guess I'm not as original as I thought I was.

Nevertheless, there is a great truth hidden in my minor embarrassment. A sucker really is reborn every minute. Because all the old misconceptions, miscalculations, fantasies, illusions and delusions -- they're a'comin back, big time.

One of the biggest suckers of them all, Ben Bernanke has certainly been reborn, with wings a'flappin'. Here's the NY Times headline: Fed Chairman Says American Economy Is Poised to Grow. Read all about it:
Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, offered his most hopeful assessment in more than a year on Friday, asserting that “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”

In a much-awaited speech here to central bankers and economists from around the world, Mr. Bernanke went beyond the Fed’s most recent assessment that the nation’s economy was “leveling out” and that the recession was ending.

Noting that short-term lending markets are functioning “more normally,” that corporate bond issuance is strong and that other “previously moribund” securitization markets are reviving, Mr. Bernanke said that both the United States and other major countries were poised for growth.
The Times reporter isn't quite buying it, though:

In emphasizing not just the imminent end of the recession — the worst since at least the early 1980s if not since the Great Depression — but also the “good” chances of actual growth, Mr. Bernanke’s assessment was in some ways surprising.

Despite encouraging signs on many fronts, American retailers have reported unexpectedly weak sales in the last week — a sign that that consumer spending could drag down economic growth in the months ahead. And on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims jumped again.

Not to mention all those hundreds of billions in "toxic assets" still lingering unsold in the banking system. Nor the ongoing meltdown in commercial real estate. Nor the millions of impending mortgage foreclosures. Nor the inconvenient truth that this country no longer has anything much to sell in the world marketplace, meaning that unemployment will remain high for the indefinite future, so where is all the consumption the economy needs in order to recover. Not to mention the question of why anyone in his right mind would want the old economy to recover, which would only mean the re-inflation of all the old bubbles.

Maybe Bernanke is playing us for suckers.
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