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7/18/2012 6:27 AM
The Joyful Suspension of Belief
By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
"The willing suspension of disbelief"
This term was put forth by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 with the publication of Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life and Opinions.
"In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavors should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith."
Of course this term now applies to all arts including poetry, art and theater. Sadly, we have to suspend disbelief and all intelligence, too but it applies to movies as well. But, now the term applies to the stock market and all facets of investing. We have to suspend disbelief that regulators are really looking out for investors. The LIBOR scandal just underscores this notion. If indeed the Fed knew about this then why didn't everyone with a mortgage, stocks, or a 401K. Damn, every citizen understands the idea that if you see something say something. The bellyaching about the need for more funds rings insincere as these government agencies simply keep dropping the ball.
The biggest game of suspension of disbelief, however, is the tango between Wall Street and Ben Bernanke.
The market sank like a rock when Ben Bernanke made the common sense observation yesterday that there wasn't much room to lower rates anymore. Yes, once you get to zero, then there is no rate of return. The market swooned but then Bernanke came to the rescue with talk of other tactics and bragging about his tool box. Bang!!! The market reversed its losses and the higher it moved up the further back into the recesses of our minds went the notion the Fed is out of bullets or that more central bank shenanigans would actually be detrimental longer term.
Pantisocracy & and the Modern Opium Den
At one point in his life Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a friend decided to create a modern utopia called Pantisocracy- meaning equal level of government by and for all. Interestingly, the idea was for the "common good" to dictate society not unlike how Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama see America. There would be general ownership or everything but unlike the new democrat twist on the idea there were also to be few regulations to make sure no man would gain too much power. For some reason the White House isn't down with that part of this utopia. Of course when it comes to mankind such a society would involve massive suspension of disbelief.
Like so many artistic talents, Coleridge had his own demons and died at an early age from complications more than likely caused from an addiction to opium. Fast forward 178 years after his death and the New York Stock Exchange might be the new opium den. Without a doubt traders are hooked on the drug of cheap money, as they should be, as it's lined their pockets very well. The problem is coming off that high into a harsher reality where suspension of disbelief isn't an option. On that note I must say America isn't done being a pillar of strength and the greatness nation in the world.
Yes, our lyrical ballads are fading and new ones aren't allowed to blossom because of the war on success. I guess the tactic might be to crush assets and hopes, then sprinkle them to all without protest.
Poetic Faith & Justice
For all the yapping about outsourcing and finding a way to shake down large American businesses it is those very businesses that keep the nation powerful.
While there is no doubt interpretation that Ben Bernanke is mounting the troops to save the day, which moved stocks higher, I also think corporate earnings played a part, too. In fact, we are being reminded this earning season that Americas' large multinational companies are best positioned to take advantage of the growth of the rest of the world. Yes, that means they have to hire people in those countries but it also means riches that eventually could find its way home.
I laugh when people point to the stock market as evidence of economic prowess at the White House. It's the exact opposite. It reflects an America standing still, bracing for an onslaught of regulations and higher taxes while the rest of the planet gallops ahead. Sure, all those nations will hit speed bumps and air pockets but make no mistake and don't assume they aren't focused on what we have - they want it, especially if we're willing to give it up.
Check out how great Coca Cola (KO) did around the world. Volumes overall up huge (see table), and you should see volumes for Sprite and Fanta ... yes, Fanta! People around the world look up to America via our products - much better than bowing for respect.
I like the action in the stock market, the Fed guessing game notwithstanding. Stocks want to move higher and slight disappointments and downgrades are proof. The Dow is now above its 50 and 200-day moving averages and sees a big test at 12,900. Beyond there I think the index re-tests 13,200.
Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association came in positive for the first time in weeks, driven by a spike in refinancing. I'm not sure how much of that number comes from Mark Zuckerberg and his amazing 30 year adjustable mortgage at 1.0%. Weird on many levels, this news does move the needle but underscores a lack of confidence on Main Street that doesn't fade.
Housing starts and permits will not provide the pop like last time out, as the picture is mixed.
> Starts- 760,000 versus consensus estimate of 743,000
> Permits- 755,000 versus consensus estimate of 765,000
Earnings this morning were mixed although the street seems pleased with the outcome at Bank of America which missed on the top line and beat on the bottom. The day after Bernanke spoke on Capitol Hill the street will continue to ponder his motivation and his will. Sadly, his not-too-cryptic warnings about the fiscal cliff will be ignored.
Thanks for all the great replies to the Question of the Day yesterday, please go to www.wstreet.com to see the great replies from real people trying to make it in America - and yes they are doing this without government. They are not sitting at home eating free cheese, chatting on their free cell phone and complaining about the rich. Today's question is to what extent are you willing to suspend disbelief to make it day to day through life?
We aren't forcing the issue this morning but this is the perfect session to test whether would-be buyers are ready to ease back into the market.
|I only suspend disbelief (belief?) when:|
1. listening to someone who is doing things for me in my own best interest,
2. science fiction stories; and then not always.
Gary Gross on 7/18/2012 10:44:24 AM
|Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The end does not justify the means. The Means have been defined by men like Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Acquinas, Descarte, and the great philosophers of history. Classical Education sure helps!|
Z on 7/18/2012 10:57:17 AM
|so what? tHE INCREADIBLE CROOKED THING GOING ON SO WHAT? iT ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE !!!!!|
tHANKS BY jbr
JOSEF bRUNNER on 7/18/2012 11:18:16 AM
|Suspension of disbelief? I am not sure what that means. If my eyes are open, am I supposed to believe that the economic world is in the throws of collapse, and I must suspend that knowledge to continue to operate?|
For my part, I believe in what I have observed. I have observed God at work, and I know He is there. I have observed the laws of physics, and know they will also repeat themselves. I have observed the decadence of the human race and can rely on men to act without integrity when not held accountable. AND, I have observed that Americans are still a people who are problem solvers who will find a way not only to survive, but alao to prosper. So, while I can see that fools like those in the White House and Senate are heading us down the road to destruction, the people are also finding a way to travel a much better road.
The public school systems collapsed and home schooling prospered and produced many of today's top college students. Likewise, as the government falters, so will Amercan businesss find way to prosper despite the government. We are in the midst of troubled times due to greed. Greedy incompetent CEOs. Greedy lazy job-less freeloader Democrats. And greedy stock traders and speculators who tend to dominate the market these days while trading on daily or hourly candlestick patterns rather than investing for real in anything. But, in the end, the prosperity will come from long term investors who put there money in a few of the many very well run companies that continue to win in the marketplace. On that you can depend without any suspension of belief or disbelief.
Bob G on 7/18/2012 12:04:29 PM
|Poetic "willing suspension of disbelief" is a far cry from the denial of reality that pervades society today. The ideological true-believers would deny the law of gravity if they could get away with it. Meanwhile, we pay the price with a flood of godawful "unintended consequences" (another euphemism for imminent disaster) that are the direct result of their lack of common sense and intellectual integrity. The fantasy world of the media is largely responsible for our ability to pull the wool over our own eyes. We're inundated daily with a mountain of lies designed to help us maneuver smoothly around our hangups. It would wiser to deal with them honestly and directly.|
Dennis Howard on 7/18/2012 1:11:59 PM
|I am SO tired of the Fed and their manipulating EVERY facet of every economic aspect of our lives. |
Their creating crisis for crisis sake in turn causing evermore government dependency sake for the weak-minded.
Turning to an entity which is $16,000,000,000,000 in debt with NO sense/ sight of fiscal emergency attempts on the horizon. These go-to the government for 'help' types are making serfs and slaves of us all for their own shortcomings, unfulfilled successes. Deplorable.
markit8dude on 7/18/2012 10:27:29 PM
|If you have to "suspend disbelief," something's terribly wrong unless you're reading your favorite novel. In the real world it is who do you really trust and what do you really believe in. I need faith in a higher power, whom I choose to call God, to get me through most days. I also need faith in myself and those around me to maintain a normal level of risk-taking. A shrink once told me, "You can't protect your kids from trauma." Fact is, you can't protect yourself either. A few bumps are normal in a world full of potholes.|
Dennis Howard on 7/19/2012 11:06:13 AM
|I listen and watch you every chance I get. If I didn't have most of my money with IFA (Mark Hebner is a close friend) I'd have it with you. But today was a clincher when Bill Handel asked what car you drive. I also have a XJL and a Navigator. You sure have good taste.|
Frank Singer on 7/24/2012 11:54:54 AM
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