There’s a paradigm shift going on in the capital markets and the pain isn’t over. Everything is coming to a head right now and whatever the results, economic and stock market malaise is likely to be with us for quite a while.
It’s really been the perfect storm. The correction began with homeowners with unaffordable mortgages, commensurate with a credit crunch at both the retail and institutional levels. All this while commodity prices were rising quickly, making input costs for the economy significantly more expensive. Then came the meteoric rise in the price of oil which is the one commodity that no one can afford to be without yet. Now, the financial institutions are starting to correct themselves. The progression has been quick and pronounced.
The worry going forward is what will be the next segment to experience the correction? My worry is that it will be Main Street. Wall Street is going through it now and rightly so. If the reckoning moves to the Main Street economy, then there will be stagnation for a long time.
In my experience as an investment analyst, I’ve always been amazed at how swiftly the American economy is able to right itself and move forward. No other economy in the world can swallow its medicine and get better faster and with renewed hope for the future.
I don’t think anyone — even the most seasoned investment professional on Wall Street — knows what’s going to happen to the capital markets over the near term. A lot of great investment opportunities are becoming even more attractive. Clearly, the storm isn’t over and, although we all have losses, in the end, the marketplace needs to correct itself in order to get healthy and move forward.