Submitted by Mark J Grant, author of Out of the Box,
The Whole Duck
"Meanwhile, in the broad and lofty chamber set apart for occasions of import, the Abbot himself was pacing impatiently backwards and forwards, with his long white nervous hands clasped in front of him. His thin, thought-worn features and sunken, haggard cheeks bespoke one who had indeed beaten down that inner foe whom every man must face, but had none the less suffered sorely in the contest."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
The markets, so abundantly juiced by the more than $100 billion pouring in from the Fed every month, are beginning to tire. Like repeated injections of some pain killer; the effects are noticeably starting to wear off. The thrill may not be gone but it is diminishing and one should take note of the condition of the patient.
"One of life's primal situations; the game of hide and seek. Oh, the delicious thrill of hiding while the others come looking for you, the delicious terror of being discovered, but what panic when, after a long search, the others abandon you! You mustn't hide too well. You mustn't be too good at the game. The player must never be bigger than the game itself."
Japan, recently in the schoolroom while Professor Bernanke tutored and preached, picked up the play book and began to follow his instructions. Too little, too late I fear but a Hail Mary pass is always worth a try as the game nears ending. Something better than nothing I suppose but I doubt if the effect will achieve the desired results. Japan has now exceeded the point where it can finance itself and the newest batch of dim sum brought in from the kitchen may still not be enough to feed the throng that awaits at the sushi tables. Noble endeavors may not bring the desired results and then there are those strange intentions paving the path to Hell.
Cyprus today and Slovenia, Malta and Luxembourg tomorrow. What is next? What is the new one-off template going to be? Deutsche Bank to graciously take over any new failed bank as one more step along the Road to Rhineland? Italian elections loom and we see nothing, we know nothing and it is verboten to speak about them until they are actually announced. Pots on the stove, neatly arranged, back burner, front burner, the shuffle continues and who has checked the oven? "What oven, there is no oven," Brussels and Berlin wails but it is there none the less.
There is always a place where one may stick one's head.
"I can smell the sauerbraten. Take a deep breath."
The ten year Treasury; the long bond. Watch them. Whatever your responsibilities; keep your eye on them. They are serving up lunch and are the best indicator of the courses to come. I believe now they are signaling that we have run out of Champagne and that Mad Dog 20/20 will be served with the duck. No one remembers how to make the foie gros. Serve up the whole duck; no one will notice.