Geoff Cutmore - Morning Thoughts

New All Time Highs - Take a Reality Check

Geoff Cutmore

Hard to say what the Dow really represents as a proxy for broader markets - but the S&P is not far from its all time high and that should send a clear enough signal that these equity markets want to go higher. The technicians like the longer term trend lines and so far there is no hint that we retest the August lows.

Deutsche Bank's revealed sub-prime exposure was received positively - at least that is one more negative which has now been pushed aside. However, as we heard on the show this morning Fitch's Financials analyst, Gordon Scott, is still struggling to value the banks that still hold asset backed debt. He says as long as there is no market for these instruments, there is no credible price discovery.

So why are the financials going up? Why are safe cyclicals being abandoned in favor of growth? For goodness sake, Citigroup and UBS alone between them have this week written off $9.3 billion. Is it a measure of how confused investors have become, that, like captives that become sympathetic to their captors, they buy these companies out of relief the problems aren't worse?

I know prices have come off a long way in this sector and a lot of bad news had been discounted, but it's just perverse to see these announcements rewarded on the day with a higher closing share price.

Two observations - the market seems to have convinced itself flat or easier interest rates are now here to stay and that U.S. housing/credit problems are past their worst. Both of these assumptions are going to be tested in coming months.

Final thought - Patrick Young reminds us that we are in crash season. Black Monday was Oct 19th 1987. Oct 28th and 29th in 1929 were called Black Monday and Tuesday. Patrick says markets look too well supported for any repetition this year. Let's hope he is right.

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