- Eric Hoffer
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
- Eric Hoffer
I was fortunate to share breakfast with Richard Muow this morning, as he was also a featured speaker at the Bellevue KIROS meeting. He's one of those older, Santa Claus types of people: loving, genuine, sweet natured, and naturally gregarious....just a wonderful man.
Simply put, he spoke on living out your faith in selfless ways in the workplace. It wasn't so much to speak "Jesus" or convict people to "believe as you do." It was all about loving people where they are at, and having people help you (and work with you) in how they can, with the gifts they have, REGARDLESS of shared faith.
I thought I'd post a quote that he shared with the group this morning. I found it powerful and profound. God is simple that way. Enjoy.
"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are, in spirit, fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say "Do it again!" and the grown up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "do it again" to the Sun, and every evening "do it again" to the Moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but never tired of making them."
- G.K. Chesterton
Blessings to you this day.
There aren't a LOT of quotes and thoughts I find online that I completely agree with. I do love this particular thought process and quote. Enjoy.
"Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint."
- Proverbs 25:19
It's important to partner ONLY with the people that meet the right level of qualification. Picking the wrong one can produce life altering consequences. Beware red flags. If something feels askew, it is. Your ability to discern is greater than you give yourself credit.
“There is no training — classroom or otherwise — that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it’s the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. There’s typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. The only way to learn how to trade during that last, exquisite third of a move is to do it, or, more precisely, live it.”
– Paul Tudor Jones
“Money is made by sitting, not trading.”
- Jesse Livermore
“I could do with a bit more excess. From now on I'm going to be immoderate...and volatile. I shall enjoy loud music and lurid poetry. I shall be rampant.”
- Joanne Harris
We all know and believe Santa Claus is real, right? Apparently, I believe, and the point of this blog today is to share the "why" of believing in him.... or at least the concept of him.
1) The "original," Saint Nicholas himself, was the real deal: A man full of love for others. From the Wall Street Journal article:
"Nicholas of Myra is believed to have been born around 270 A.D. and died in 343. Unlike other church fathers, he left no writings, and the first mention of him dates from only the sixth century. In 325 he supposedly attended the Council of Nicaea, the gathering of churchmen that affirmed the divinity of Christ. There, according to legend, Nicholas was briefly imprisoned for slugging the heretic Arius in a fit of righteous rage."
The article continues:
"[a] favorite story, first told by the eighth-century monk Michael the Archimandrite, concerned a once-wealthy man who lost his fortune and decided to sell his three daughters into prostitution because he couldn't provide dowries. Nicholas, whose own parents had left him a large inheritance, sneaked up to the man's house in the dead of night and threw three bags of gold through the window, enabling the girls to find respectable husbands. He thus became the patron saint of spinsters and of pawnbrokers (for whom he became a "guarantor of payment"); the three balls on pawnshop signs are stylized versions of Nicholas's bags of gold. "In this endearing and enduring story, we see all the raw materials for the magical Santa Claus tale," [the author] writes, "a mysterious night visitor who silently enters the home to bestow wonderful gifts to children." [He] notes that Nicholas gives from his own pocket, secretly, and with a purpose of encouraging moral behavior."
Now, here's the final rub from the article:
"In the end, the "true" St. Nicholas is as unknowable, and possibly as fictional, as a shopping-mall Santa. But does it matter?"
My answer is no. It doesn't matter. At all. It's the concept of who he was and what he embodies that is so special to so many. Granted, we can argue, fairly, that the Santa Claus we all know adds a level of insult to the already distorted story of the birth of Christ. The tale of St. Nick and the subsequent evolution into Santa Claus has, for the most part, completely overwhelmed the idea and celebration of the original holiday. Then, there is the adoption of pagan symbolism by the church, but that's for another time and blog, right?
2) Today's blog is about how the existence of one Mr. Santa Claus can affect the US market. I'm talking about the 'Santa Claus rally' or what is also known as the 'December effect.' This is a pseudo financial blog, right?
Investopedia defines it as such...
The Santa Claus rally: A surge in the price of stocks that often occurs in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. There are numerous explanations for the Santa Claus Rally phenomenon, including tax considerations, happiness around Wall Street, people investing their Christmas bonuses and the fact that the pessimists are usually on vacation this week.
...and, As Yale Hirsch (who basically created the term for the rally) is quoted as saying: "If Santa clause should fail to call, bears may come to Broad and Wall." So, there's that.
Forbes is questioning the potential for a rally this year with the following graphs regarding Yen weakness and how it will/could affect the US markets:
From the article referencing the graphs:
"If the Nikkei continues to rally next week, a bullish confirmation signal would result if, and only if, this breakout holds. As always, be wary of the risk of a “bull trap” where the Nikkei either fails to break above its resistance zone or temporarily breaks it, but is unable to hold onto its gains. A “bull trap” is typically a bearish sign."
The market charts below, for the S&P, Dow, and NASDAQ are indicative of where we were on Friday. So far, so good. We will need the markets to continue forward. We are to the "resistance" points in all 3 major indexes and we'll need a confirmation that we'll stay above them by continuing these breakouts. If we drop a bit, and then push again to these resistance points, and FAIL to break above? Well then... that would be a serious indicator that we cannot sustain this level. These are known as "double tops"...Bearish signals to anyone paying attention. With that information, and for those that don't know, markets are self fulfilling prophecies. If they don't breakout, the chances of these indexes remaining above or at the current level are very low indeed. Take a look at resistance levels in the charts below. Double top city:
Now, to be fair, I'm not a technical trader, and this information shared today is certainly NOT investment advice. As you can imagine, they are shared for educational purposes only.
Be careful as you trade today and always.... keep your positions in check and if there is a failure to breakout above the current prices, increase your level of caution. We could experience a very sharp decline. I do believe the market will struggle a bit to press further, at least in a positive direction. However, I only believe this for the short term.
Santa always comes calling. Since 1896, on average, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 3.1% higher at that point than where it stood at the beginning of December, according to a Hulbert Financial Digest study of the Dow.
Lastly, enjoy these thoughts from Chris Rock, regarding Santa Claus/religion/commerce from last weekend's SNL.
"It's America. Look what we did to Christmas! Christmas is Jesus' birthday. From what I read, Jesus is the least materialistic person to ever roam the Earth. No bling on Jesus! Jesus kept a low profile, and we turned His birthday into the most materialistic day of the year. In fact, we have the Jesus birthday SEASON! It's a whole season of materialism. Then, at the end of the Jesus birthday season, we have the nerve to have an economist come on TV, and to tell you how horrible the Jesus birthday season was this year. 'Oh, we had a horrible Jesus' birthday season this year... hopefully, business will pick up by His crucifixion.'"
I'm sure Santa agrees. Don't bet against the Santa Claus rally, no matter what the market does the next few weeks. It's AFTER the Christmas holiday that sets it all up for next year. I'm betting (and hedging) on it.
These are the personal (and sometimes business) musings of a former know-it-all.