One Born Every Minute


Wall Street began the day on the positive side as traders cheered changes at the top of Starbucks and possibly at Bear Stearns, and largely shrugged off more ugly home sales figures.

Today’s Markets

As of 10:08 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 67.47 points, or 0.53% to 12896.18, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 12.95 points, or 0.91% to 1429.13 and the Nasdaq Composite Index picked up 24.54, or 0.98%, to 2525.00. The consumer-friendly Fox 50 rose 6.57, or 0.64%, to 1035.04.

The market started 2008 sluggishly, with fears the economy may be slipping into a recession weighing on traders. Wall Street hasn’t had a day with all three major indexes advancing and the Nasdaq Composite has fallen in seven consecutive sessions.

News broke after yesterday’s closing bell about the departure of Starbucks CEO (SBUX) Jim Donald and the possible exit of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns CEO (BSC) James Cayne. Shares of both stocks rose on the executive shuffling.

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P.T.Barnum was right, at least where investors are concerned; there’s a sucker born every minute.

  • Europe prints 500 billion euros to keep the banks afloat.
  • Liquidity in markets worldwide has been sucked dry.
  • The Chinese have given up funding our deficits in favor of flat-out buying our businesses.
  • Banks, savings and loans and investment houses are writing down hundreds of billions in losses.
  • War spending is out of control
  • Three trillion dollars have been added to the National Debt in five years.

Three trillion is a thousand billion, while each billion is a thousand million and we have no more idea of what that actually means than what a sub-prime related derivative actually is.

The Wizard of OZ is suddenly in control.

But does that give Wall Street reason for pause? Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin. It’s UP 67 points because Starbucks fired its CEO and the street is exuberant that the $5 latte is ready to lift the market from its doldrums.

Perhaps the most pessimistic news to come from this fact is the fact itself--that in the face of gigantic (and likely insoluble) problems, hope has overcome reason.

As Bette Davis once famously said; “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

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