Saturday, February 28, 2009

March 2009 – Disgruntled, Discontented, and Directionless

Global Risk of Social Unrest: EXTREME!

Below is an except from this month's MoodCompass:
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March 2009 – Disgruntled, Discontented, and Directionless

The background theme throughout the month is an aimless, anxious, agitation. People, in general, are worried about the future; increasing numbers are concerned with survival needs in the present. To make matters worse, no one is quite sure how to respond to all that is going on.

Global stock markets are near a low and the negativity in social mood is nearing a peak. At such long term cycle peaks, the risk of civil unrest reaches an extremely high probability of occurring; the risk of misunderstandings between governments also rises.

There are numerous opinions about how governments should be dealing with the economic turmoil. While there is little consensus on exactly what should be done, there is much agreement, globally, that whatever is being done, by whoever is in charge, is the wrong thing, and that whatever they are doing is either not enough or is going to make matters worse. In the US, differences between political parties over the past month have been extreme. This month, divisiveness reaches a whole new level, and it would not be surprising to see some type of a demand for action, an insistence that the debate come to a conclusion so that plans can be crystallized and implemented. “Enough talk already! What are you going to DO about it?”

All of this painful agitation and searching for direction should likewise be a theme in the marketplace throughout the month. This is not the end of the economic downturn, but it is near the end of increased disintegration for now. When the next long term peak in optimism arrives, that will be the time to look for things to really begin to get bad!

- - - (current issue viewable by research sponsors only; reprinted with permission of A New Story Foundation)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Just a Few More Stock Market Crashes to Go!

This month there is some good news and some bad news. First, the good news: there is only a month or two left of really bad stock market crashes. Next, the bad news: the same as the good news.

President Obama has been saying it's going to get worse before it gets better. The next two months should look pretty bad for the global economy. More people will lose jobs, more banks will be on the edge of failing, etc. However, just when it looks like there will never be an end to all of the bad news, in just a few months from now, things will start to stabilize. It won't be the end of the economic downturn, that is still a few years away (according to the cycles we follow). However, it will mean a reprieve for a bit, perhaps six months, or even more. An upturn in the collective mood would be rather refreshing. I sure would love a surge of good news for a change.

Below is an except from this month's MoodCompass:
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February 2009 – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Last month was rather interesting. There were so many puzzle pieces that looked so bad at a time that seemed like everyone should be celebrating – the drop in optimism and associated stock market downturn, U.S. Treasuries being sold off even though the stock market was declining, and an increase in anti-U.S. sentiment after a new, fairly popular president was supposed to take office. We were right on with the pieces of the puzzle. There was an actual 5% drop in the stock market on Inauguration Day itself. China, Pakistan, and the Arab world as a whole were less than pleased with the United States the very week the new president took office. However, as a whole, things were more or less “normal.” We must admit that we too were caught up in the expectations that a new president would mean that at least the mood should get better for a moment, and were concerned about what seemed to be a discrepancy. The new president is for the most part doing exactly what he said he would do, what the majority of Americans elected him for, yet the U.S. (and global) collective mood continues to sour.

In February, there are more reminders that things continue to be all too normal. Mid-month the stock market begins to crash (again!). The U.S. government is perceived to be disorganized, incompetent, and fragmented. With this configuration, it is likely that internal fighting and self-interest will impede agreements on any proposed solutions to the economic crisis (which should appear to be getting completely out of control). Whether or not they can get it together next month, we’ll have to see. Regardless, don’t look for any improvements in the economic outlook before spring! This next couple of months of stock market losses might be considered a grand finale of the “show” we have been watching since late 2007. During this period there is a heightened risk of social instability throughout the world, meaning a higher than normal likelihood of demonstrations, riots, and geopolitical escalation.

- - - (current issue viewable by subscription only; reprinted with permission of A New Story Foundation)