Guest Post: The Market From The Eyes Of An 8 Year Old

Tyler Durden's picture

From Peter Tchir of TF Capital Markets

The Market From The Eyes Of An 8 Year Old

After two incredibly volatile weeks, where more Americans now know the ticker symbol for Gold (GLD) than its Periodic Table Symbol (AU), I'm just not sure what to write.  Trying to make sense of it all is hard enough, and by this time on a Sunday, what hasn't already been written?  I guess I could have tried to write something title "Circular reasoning and cognitive dissidence in the markets" , but that seemed fairly complex.  Instead, maybe looking at the past couple of weeks through the eyes of a child, is a better idea. 

Son:  Dad, do you FINALLY have time to go fishing?

Me:  Sure, sorry about this week, but it's been just crazy in the markets.

Son: Sure, but you always say that.

Me:  No, really, it has been crazy ever since the debt ceiling weekend.

Son:  Debt ceiling weekend? /raises eyebrows/  What is a debt ceiling?

Me:  It is a limit on how much the government can borrow, and the market was really concerned about it.

Son:  Ah, the market was worried we were borrowing too much?

Me:  No, that we couldn't borrow more to pay our debts.

Son:  How is borrowing more the same as paying debts?

Me:  It's complicated, but we needed to borrow more or else we might have been downgraded.

Son:  What's a downgrade?

Me:  Its something the rating agencies do, you don't need to worry about it, since its complicated.  But anyways we raised the limit and could borrow more, so everyone should have been happy.

Son:  Don't you tell me to save and not borrow?  That borrowing for stuff you don't need is bad.

Me:  Well, yes, but some people think that it's different for governments than people or families.

Son:  But why is it good for me to save, but bad for the government to save?

Me:  You wouldn't understand.

Son:  Okay, so what happened.

Me:  Well, one of the rating agencies downgraded us.

Son:  For taking on more debt?

Me:  No, because our politicians can't agree.

Son:  Don't you always say politicians never agree?  And what does that have to do with debt?

Me:  It's all complicated, someday maybe you will understand, but then it got worse.

Son:  What got worse?  No one wanted our debt after this downgrade?

Me:  Well, actually the debt did even better.

Son:  The debt did better after a downgrade? So what was the big deal?
Anyways, want got worse?

Me:  People started to worry that Italy couldn't pay its debts.

Son:  Couldn't they borrow more like us, so they could pay their debts?

Me:  No, not really, they have too much debt, so they can't borrow more to pay their debt.

Son:  But you said it was good if we borrow more to pay debt, why isn't it good for them?

Me:  It's just different for them, you wouldn't understand.  And if that wasn't enough, people started to worry about France and they would get downgraded.

Son:  Because they didn't raise their debt ceiling? /hopeful face that he has figured it out/

Me:  Nah, only we have a debt ceiling.

Son:  So they need to borrow more to pay their debt, but they can't?
/really expectant face that he has nailed it/

Me:  Not really, they could borrow more.

Son:  So you were just worried they might get downgraded, but didn't have a reason?

Me:  Well, it's complicated, but even though the rating agencies said they wouldn't downgrade, people got worried they aren't better than us, so were still nervous.

Son:  That whole thing sounds stupid.

Me:  Yes, but it ended ok.

Son:  How come?

Me:  Well after people got worried about banks /interrupted/

Son:  You never mentioned banks! /annoyed tone of voice/

Me:  Well, after all the stuff on the countries people got really worried about whether banks can pay their debt.

Son:  Can they?

Me:  So they say, but by the end of the week people were cool with it, because France and Italy sound like they will help their banks.

Son:  But didn't you say that you were worried about the countries?
Me:   Yeah, but now they are going to help the banks.

Son:  But how does that help the countries.

Me:  You wouldn't understand, it is all very complicated

Son:  Maybe you don't understand, it doesn't make any sense! /exasperated voice/

Long pause for thought.

Me:  Hey, let's go catch some fish.

Son:  You sure, or is that going to be too hard for me to understand too? /dripping with sarcasm/

It has been a long couple of weeks.  By the end of it, there have been so many twists and turns it is hard to figure out what is priced in and what isn't.   Guessing at positioning is more of a guess than usual.  People were reacting and putting on trades that made sense at the time.  Current direction of the market was the single biggest investment factor last week.

All else was secondary.  Investors got so hedged and wedged, it is going to take time to get themselves positioned as they want. 

I don't think the data is priced in.  There were so many contradictory reactions, that even an 8 year old could spot them, that it is going to take time for the market to truly digest them.  So, although it is hard to figure out what is priced in, I do believe we have not seen the lows.  Unless the governments enter a "Print it and they will come" mentality across the globe, we will test the lows.  There may be enough bad hedges on and enough hints at printing that we can regain some ground, but much above 1200 on SPX would be a surprise, and without new massive government intervention, 1230 would seem extremely hard to get to.  On the downside, 1100 seems easy to reach, and if it breaks, 1050 or lower is a real possibility.  The short selling ban will once again cause problems on the way down as you remove the short covering bid.

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rajat_bhatia's picture

That Kid Should be The Federal Reserve Chairman, not The Bernank

mtthw2's picture

Never could win smarter then a 5th grader either

runlevel's picture

thats quite an articulate son... .........................

FranSix's picture

I know what to say: 'If the Yen continues to melt up, the Japanese may have to allow negative nominal interest rates.'. And then look worried.

Prepared's picture

less vodka and more clear thinking please.  Good grief, that suk'd!

DaBernank's picture

I as a 9-yr-old asked my old man why a government didn't make its own money and had to borrow it from a bank. 30 years later I still await the answer...

FaithEqualsZero's picture

Easy, cause a magic bullet will find the person responsible for removing the banks ability to steal from us

DaBernank's picture

Well, of course, but my father never said anything. I've come to that realization on my own.

johansen's picture

I asked my parents why they said "housing prices always rise" in 1999, I was 11 at the time. 

I told them to sell their house in 2005 and buy gold. They are still holding on to it, thinking a 6 fold increase in cash value (down from 9 fold increase at the peak of the market) over the last ~35 years is a good deal. Last year I dumped a third of my money into precious metals. They said "gold is useless". I'm about to tell them i purchased a 4 person-year supply of food.. perhaps they might listen. /sigh. but i doubt it.

MsCreant's picture

No matter, your parents have either done a great job with you (you are who you are and got it so young without their help) or you are a success in spite of them!

From this post I see you were 16 and "getting it" about the housing market (smart, insight, applied knowledge), and you are currently taking responsibility for yourself AND thinking of others (who don't listen to you) as well.

You look like a winner to me.

HungrySeagull's picture

My Parents were told by us kids to buy gold and silver along with 15% money markets and associated bank services at the very worst of the 70's and 80's era. They did not do a damned thing.

As it turned out one was accumulating cash to buy a car free and clear on the spot cash. That car lasted 20 years, even for a detriot commute bomb that's gotta be pretty decent.


Complex apartment rental with utitlies that time was around 230 a month, when one makes 36K a year salary it's pretty easy to accumulate.


Fast forward 30 years. Just about finished a 77K mortgage on a house now assessed at anywhere from 150 to 260+ and winter oil eats up easily what is left over on social security.


When the mortgage is paid this year, they will easily triple the income they net each month counting everything. Go figure.

djsmps's picture

I, for one, am relieved that this weekend the government isn't madly trying to solve something before the Asian markets open.

Kali's picture

I don't know.  IF they aren't madly trying to solve something, might mean it's all over and they know they can do nothing whatsoever.  : )

knukles's picture

Maybe the clueless truly can't figure what day it is.... 

JW n FL's picture

Explain to the 8 year old why 81 memebers of congress (1/5th of the total) are going to Israel!


The Israel lobby group AIPAC has sponsored the trips to Israel of 81 members of the U.S. House of representatives during their summer recess, in order to win Jewish voters in Congressional districts as well   as their contributions, says American author William Blum.


This is in fact bribery. They [U.S. lawmakers] are being paid by a Jewish organization with the expectation that in the future these Congressmen will vote a certain way on those [issues] which concern Israel,” Blum, the author of “Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower”, told Press TV's U.S. Desk on Sunday.


The visits are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation known as the AIEF, an organization affiliated with the all-powerful Israel lobby group, AIPAC. The lobby group brings large delegations of congressmen to Israel every other August.

snowball777's picture

I seem to remember something about that in that Constitution thingy. Hmm.


Lazlo Toth's picture

I thought they went out of town to avoid any false flag events.

Isn't that why people are in Gardens right now?

falak pema's picture

before or after their night with the vestal virgins?

Magnum's picture

Imagine if 20% of the US congress went to China, or Dubai, or Chile or Turkey.  Total outrage in the media.  But it's Israel now so all media including talk radio is SILENT.  Is there ever a more obvious example of a bought congress and an pwned media?

ISEEIT's picture

And early peeks say's 'risk on'. Makes sense right? Risk on is obviously the default setting. Absent evil anti regime headlines, all is well?

Keep tons of cover cause those who can hang on will be rewarded.

Boilermaker's picture

I would love to get his / her thoughts at 9:30 am tomorrow after the Fed jacks the piss out of the market futures during the wee hours.  You know, wake up and find a huge gap up for absolutely no reason.  Maybe a pre-puberty mind can figure it out.

MsCreant's picture

You saying Bernanke has wet dreams?

MsCreant's picture

I am a woman and you are talking to me. You chastised someone on another thread for "talking to the women" and threatening to "take care of him."

Dear heart, what was that all about?

JW n FL's picture

my response to you was "Yes Dear" on the other thread LOVE! what else can a man say to make you happy?


and my point over there! back then! in the past!

was that while he engaged you.. the "Women" that the men were planning his end!

you are beyond smart enough to comprehend! I fogave you for secretly loving Bush. Obama is no better.. no worries!

MsCreant's picture

Never was a Bush lover, ever. Obama could have taken a high road and surprised us all, but alas, he did not, could not, he was groomed Wallstreet puppet.

Sheeit, I voted for Ralph Nader back in the day, okay? I've come a long way baby!! All good.

falak pema's picture

having GWB as secret lover has to be every woman's N° 1 nightmare! Sorry Laura! I know you're a saint!

Eireann go Brach's picture

"Hey dad, why do they call it the White House if the Obama's live in it"

ISEEIT's picture

"Hey Dad, why do they call this a free country?"

magpie's picture

"Dad, why is it called the Federal Reserve when it isn't federal and doesn't have reserves ?"

RichardP's picture

The Fed is an agent of Congress.  Review agency if necessary.  The Fed is Federal.

snowball777's picture

Because calling it The Chocolate House would make too many people in hoods that can't compete on a level playing field cry, Billy.

ISEEIT's picture


If you want to get racial go do it some other place please. I'm fine with racism just like I'm fine with farts. The shit is real and I would ask you kindly to do it elsewhere.

trav7777's picture

you must have a real problem with pretty much all nonwhite people, then

HungrySeagull's picture

I learned to not care what skin color, only the words and actions in public.

Racial Cartoons based on different stereotypes would be censored or banned today, the old ones based on the funnies.

Mac1492's picture


from the dtc



DTC will support a program to facilitate the industry's clean up of aged fails in select globally 

locked securities.  This notice details the information necessary for firms to participate in this 

program, which is scheduled to occur during the period August 15, 2011 through August 19, 



DTC may impose certain restrictions on a security in situations where DTC may become aware of 

certain potentially illegal or otherwise questionable features of a security, its issuer or other principal 

parties.   In addition, DTC may place restrictions when it has been informed by the issuer or its agent, 

regulators or law enforcement, or has other compliance concerns that its Cede & Co certificate 

inventory has been compromised due to unauthorized, altered, fraudulent or counterfeit share issuance. 

If DTC reasonably suspects that all or a portion of its street name holdings of a security, may not be

fungible and freely transferable as required for DTC services, it may decide, with respect to that 

security, to chill one or more of its services or place a global lock on all services, as it deems 


Impact of a Global Lock and Trade Fails 

A global lock on a security prevents the security from being transferred on the books of DTC and 

otherwise restricts any DTC activity with respect to the security. For so long as the global lock is in 

effect, Participants are unable to settle any further trades in that security, as their inventory is frozen 

and settlement of pending trades will fail.  If counterparties nevertheless continue to trade in a security 

which is globally locked and those trades are submitted to DTC for settlement, those trades will also 

fail and be rejected in DTC’s system.........


MsCreant's picture

I have these conversations with my kid all the time. Difference is, he gets it that the govt. manipulates and makes the rules up as they go along, so he understands better than this man's son. My son called it that this crisis would calm down and PMs would come down. I kept saying... this time might be different, might be "it." He had full faith it was not.

This actually gets to the heart of an important point: I am having a hard time raising my son to have integrity and not look for the shortcut when all around him at school and in our government that is all that is modeled for him. He tells me I "don't get it" when I challenge him to pick the high road. He says "No one is like that but you Mom." He tells me it is crumbling around him, his classes are larger, his German teacher (wonderful guy) was let go along with the stat teacher and many others. All their schedules are screwed up. The main office is being manned by volunteer parents who don't really know anything but mean well and "try" to help. Don't mail anything to the school, it won't get there. And this is a flagship school, one of the prides of the state.

This post is about more than we would suppose, not just the markets and this weekend.

Kali's picture

So true, MsC.  Calvinball would explain it well, but your son might not be old enough to recognize the reference.  "Liberty can not be preserved without a common knowledge among the people" -John Adams.  We have reached the point where there is not enough common knowledge about freedom among the people.  They have common knowledge about "Your perfect pair of Jeans" (posting on Yahoo "News" right now).  How ugly would having to kill your own children/grandchildren in the next Civil War be? 

MsCreant's picture

How ugly would having to kill your own children/grandchildren in the next Civil War be?

I have never contemplated this nightmare. Wow. It could happen.

HungrySeagull's picture

Culps Hill in Gettysburg was a small Farm. A brother fought brother there. One on the south and other in the north.

The Generals and officers commanding grew up together in West Point learning to play Cadet and got cherry broken at the Mexican war.

Today? Hopefully not a Civil War. It will be on a scale beyond comprehension. For example a container delivered properly against a proper tanker rail car in the night during calm winds through a town of 10,000 sleeping souls. The gas would kill the place.

11b40's picture

This takes me back a long way.  1st semester college U.S. History course, 1967.  Best esay question I ever had.

Border state family, 1840's.  2 sons.  One moves North, one moves deep South.  Fast forward to Civil War.

Write 2 letters, one from each son, to their Mother, explaining how it is that they are willing fight, and possibly kill, each other, in defense if their positions.

This could have been a novel.  After more than 2 hours, the professor took the paper away and ran me off.  As it happened, I had just done a term paper on Manifest Destiny and was loaded for bear.  A+

I'm pretty sure they don't teach hsitory and civics the way they were taught to us. 

oogs66's picture

Yeah. Hard to teach discipline and self sufficiency when all around shows it isn't necessary. For now

ISEEIT's picture

+++. Good point. And it does suck. I'm raising three + a Granddaughter. Nihilism isn't really something you want to teach kids, but false hope doesn't sit well either, huh?

Kali's picture

Parents often think that "shielding" children from the harsh realities of the world is a good thing.  I am not so sure.  Look at the poor fractured souls who are children, say, in the Congo, or children in places of extreme poverty.  If they survive those places intact (mind & body), they often are very driven to succeed and do whatever it takes to do it.   So, do you weaken your child by "shielding" , even just a little bit, or, take the rose colored glasses off and have them see the world as it is, risking mental or physical damage?  Hard decision. 

HungrySeagull's picture

My folks did not shield us too much, what they did instead was ship us to a trip or somewhere away when something important is going on. They essentially got away with murder in that house without us knowing a thing until we would get together decades later and catch up.