Tuesday, September 16, 2008


A safe alternative to Wall Street?

That mattress stuffed with money is looking safer and safer all the time.

On the international front, Europe, Asia and all points in between and away are living and dying with the American markets.

From the BBC: "Lehman's collapse has continued to reverberate: Central banks around the globe have pumped funds into the money markets, including $50bn (£28bn) from the US Federal Reserve, £20bn from the Bank of England and 70bn euros ($100bn; £56bn) from the European Central Bank. US insurer AIG saw its shares slump by more than 70% at one point amid continued uncertainty over its future. Global stock markets fell heavily for a second consecutive day."

Skittish is putting it mildly.

Just a week or so ago, the 24/7, Internet-fueled newscycle was all about Sarah Palin or hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, it seems like the presidential campaigns, storm damage and even oil prices (down, thankfully) have been relegated to mere mentions in most newscasts and headlines.

Now it's all about the money.

It's always about the money.

I spoke with a leading economist and former U.S. Treasury official today about the current situation in the markets. Usually a cheerful, optimistic guy, he was -- to say the least -- worried and as unsure as anyone else. Without repeating our conversation (which I didn't have permission to quote), I'll just say that his immediate outlook appeared bleak. However, he did seem to feel that a change for the better could be just a few months ahead. Again, without getting into specifics or breaking any confidences, I will just say that he believes new political leadership will make the necessary changes.

We'll see...

Extra: With just one point separating Senators John McCain and Barack Obama in the polls right now, it will be interesting to see who is able to take ownership of economic issues and provide leadership on key matters.

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