Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Musing on the Markets: not amused!

Today's rally on global stock markets shows there is a lot of bull about this bear market. Those of us with a superannuation pension watch the markets almost as closely as the sports news.

The commentators seem unable to get anything right. When they make their annual predictions for the New Year it should be mandatory to own up to how last year's went.

Nor is there any real investigation by the mass media into the manipulation of money matters in Australia and internationally.

Some random thoughts on matters economic:

It seems only days since $200 a barrel oil prices were just around the corner. They may be but that's not today's news. Oil and petrol prices have dived. Only diesel users are being ripped off because of some market mechanism which eludes satisfactory explanation. Gaps of 35 cents per litre between unleaded and diesel are common at present. Don't they come out of the same oil barrels? At the start of 2008 they were on parity in Broome.

Is just my imagination or does the Australian Stock Market seem more likely to dip on Fridays than any other day whether it's a bull or bear market? Is it end-of-the-week profit taking? Fear that Wall Street might collapse that night? Monday too far away? A bet each way? The rush to get to lunch?

Economic analysts should use precise terms like "recession" with precision. Doesn't it mean 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth? Even The Economist can't quite make up its mind:

Broadly speaking, a period of slow or negative economic GROWTH, usually accompanied by rising UNEMPLOYMENT. Economists have two more precise definitions of a recession. The first, which can be hard to prove, is when an economy is growing at less than its long-term trend rate of growth and has spare CAPACITY. The second is two consecutive quarters of falling GDP.

Australia's highly protected big 4 banks are soaking existing home loan customers to pay for losses which are not related to domestic market or the price of funds. Shareholders have to be protected from a drop in profits. Aren't banks allowed to lose money when they make poor investment decisions?

Where are the ACCC? The current rip-offs with both diesel and loans are clearly anti-competitive and probably collusive as well.

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