Here’s the problem with the stock market. Before . . . remember before? . . . whenever it would fall from seemingly high heights, it would shortly bounce back to even higher heights. People learned that dips were buying opportunities, and that became somewhat self-fulfilling. They’d ignore underlying value and just buy, knowing that the market always snapped back and went higher.

Well, now what may happen for some months or years longer (I hope not) is that whenever the market rises from seemingly low levels, as it has the last few days, it may shortly fall back and perhaps dip to even lower lows. People may come to believe that these spikes are selling opportunities – and that, too, could become somewhat self-fulfilling. They may ignore value and just sell, knowing that these rallies never last.

At some point, of course, they will be wrong. At some point – maybe this even is that point – the rallies will be wider and more sustained than the dips. That is when we will know (looking back on the chart, with hindsight) the bear became a bull.

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Thomas Friedman filed another of his compelling New York Times columns the other day, this one from Sri Lanka. But it wasn’t about Sri Lanka, it was about an ailing 63-year-old Egyptian named Saad Eddin Ibrahim, sentenced to seven years’ hard labor for promoting democracy. And it wasn’t about that, either. It was about America’s response – yours and mine – and how such responses are being perceived around the world and what they mean. Click here.

MYM 12 DIE-HARDS

Martin Fleisher reports that MYM 12, the venerable DOS money-management software package some of us still use (along with our rotary phones and slide rules), works under Microsoft XP. The one problem he encountered – and I have heard this from others – is that it opened in a too-small window. But he quickly discovered that XP ‘defaults to opening DOS programs in a window. You just have to alt-enter out of it.’

 

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