Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The title of this page is how we often recognize a sale in my business. Buy, Sell, Long, Short, Bull, Bear, Hawk, Dove... even Up and Down. All those words have proven unreliable under certain circumstances. But "Yours" and "Mine" convey the critical message precisely.
No one is saying "Mine" today.
Today, all over the globe, everyone is trying to say "yours" to everyone else. This is a 'risk off' day, where everyone tries to run to high ground at the same time. But since the sovereign debt crisis has begun, the high ground isn't as high as it used to be.
As a practical matter, Europe needs to build a firewall around Italian debt. If the yield on that debt gets too high, the finances of Italy begin to look like Greece and things become unsustainable. Many think it's already reached that point. But Italy is much larger than Greece, so it's a much larger problem.
Today, confidence in Italy and broader European government in general is falling, and as a result the people who trade Italian debt are all saying "Yours". This means the firewall, is failing. It's really built with only words after all. Water is leaking in everywhere, and if Italy goes, so will the rest of Europe. We called our banks 'too big to fail', but for Europe, Italy is too big to save.
I personally think they'll keep Italy from toppling keel over mast this time. They'll get some cash from China, who has an interest in keeping Europe afloat. But the stories the European leadership are using to keep the dike together are sounding increasingly ludicrous and unlikely, and the Chinese are losing faith too. In the end that's what's causing yields to rise.
When they decide that Europe is no longer rational, they'll start saying "Yours" like everyone else, but there will be no one left to say 'Mine".
We getting pretty close. the fat lady hasn't sung just yet, but the orchestra is warming up and the lights are going down. Tick tock.