Markets continue to maintain a negative bias, as stocks trade at multi-year lows, with 2008 potentially the worst showing since the bear market in 2000. We are awaiting a second vote on a revised $700-billion bailout program that will give the markets some confidence. However, we feel it will do very little for small guys, as it appears more to be helping out failing companies. Yet, in spite of this, it is still needed, as there are grave concerns surrounding the condition of world economies.
If you need evidence, just take a look at some of the comments made over the last few weeks by some major financial pundits.
On Friday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the world was standing on the “edge of the abyss” due to the potential negative impact of a global financial crisis. Economies in Europe are struggling and there are also concerted efforts there to halt a financial meltdown.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is also concerned about the condition of the country, and said the U.S. has been hit with an “economic Pearl Harbor.” In an interview on the “The Charlie Rose Show,” Buffett added that the government must react quickly.
Jack Welch, the former head of General Electric Company (NYSE/GE) believes that “one hell of a deep downturn” has been in the works, and that the first quarter of 2009 would probably be “brutal” This was all in a very recent speech to the World Business Forum in New York.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that a recession would be likely without a bailout.
Four views, but all suggesting that things could get nastier. Failure to prop up the financial system will have dire consequences. At the same time, the poor condition of the housing market remains a significant concern, which that could impact credit and financial markets more.
Stay tuned, and maybe by the time you’ve read this, the bailout will have been approved.