Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Another day, another 3% swing in the broad equity markets. The frightening thing is, these indices (ie, DJIA, S&P500) are is still trading at inflated price/earnings multiples. For example, the Dow Jones Industrials (the Dow 30) are trading at a P/E of 21.25. This is a quite high relative to historical valuations, meaning there is still quite a bit of room for stocks to fall. Just wait until more earnings are reported and I would wager that stocks will take more of a beating.

I follow little of the national mainstream media, but I think that they have failed us in forewarning what we are about to encounter. Fortunately, one does not need to scratch too far beneath the surface to see the true economic state of the US (and world) by reading global sources, or alternative sites, such as this daily read called Naked Capitalism.

I ponder quite a bit what drives people to acquire such degrees of material and monetary wealth. At my point in life, I've found much more freedom and self-satisfaction in having less. The more I gain, the more I lose my identity and autonomy. There was a time that walking into a Maison Blanche in New Orleans was a vastly different experience than walking into Wanamaker's in Philadelphia. Now they are all Macy's (or something of that bland ilk) located in generic suburban shopping malls where you can now buy the same cheaply-made dry goods from coast to coast. We are quickly evolving into a nation of sameness. In my recent journey south on I-5, I cannot tell you how many times I saw the same malls - Target, Best Buy, PetSmart,... - styled in the same architecture. It reminded me of those old video games where the same background plays over and over again.

Oh, and it is quite rainy here. Flooding (see above). I am glad I do not have a basement, as they invariable hold water. What a funny climate this is. I am glad that my 80-year-old home has stood the rigors of time and has been toasty and dry.

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