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MONEY

Dow Jones Breaks 13,000. Don’t Go Anywhere Near It.

What’s going on can best be described as a Dead Greek bounce: A huge over-reaction to a bailout deal already starting to unravel.

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Now that the Greek bailout is settled and the U.S. economy is on the rebound! This is why the Dow-Jones is above 13,000 and it’s clearly time to get back in the markets. Right? Wrong, wrong, wrong and most definitely and emphatically wrong. Keep your money safe in its storage unit for now.

Today the Dow cracked 13K for the first time since Lehman Brothers was still in business and the press is crazy happy. Actually what’s going on can best be described as a Dead Greek bounce. (A dead cat bounce – my favorite expression in all of finance – is based on the saying, “Even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a great enough height.” It refers to the very brief hiccup in the markets after a crash or collapse.)

Ever since the financial crisis began the markets have overreacted to every piece of good news. Those non-automated investors foolish enough to still be trading are desperate for anything they can sell on. The rescue of Greece has been seen as crucial for so long that news of something officially called a bailout was guaranteed to get a rise out of the markets.

Unfortunately this alleged solution is a mess and could unravel even before the Greek hits the ground again. For one thing, the Greek bailout doesn’t even solve the problem. Its stated goal is to reduce Greek debt to 120 percent of GDP by 2020, instead of the 164 percent it is now projected to hit. You can flog that horse all you want; it’s not going to get any less dead. Further, this goal can only be reached under a best-case scenario which has already gone by the boards. It is based on the assumption that the Greek economy contracts at far less than the 7 percent a year it is already doing. And that’s just one of many gaping holes.

The rest of the world already knows this. Major international exchanges like the FTSE 100, Stoxx Europe 600 (which really needs to the name of a NASCAR race) and the Nikkei all closed flat or down today. Bond prices are the best indicator of how investors really feel and the results there were very telling. Greek 10 year bonds were down a miniscule .42 percent, meaning investors think things are only slightly better over the long haul. Over the short haul? The Greek 1 year bond actually went up by 37 points and closed at 652.60. So, in order to find buyers Greece must pay back $652 for each $1 it borrows.

Keep your money in your wallet folks.

 

 

 

Last updated: Feb 21, 2012

CONSTANTINE VON HOFFMAN is a writer and sometime standup comedian. His work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, NPR, Sierra magazine, Brandweek, CIO, The Boston Herald, TheStreet.com, and Boston Magazine.
@CurseYouKhan




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