Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, August 02, 2007

... Vs. Dow 2007

Now here's a chart showing the Dow this year. You can see that we had a nice early-year rally, followed by some consolidation, and an apparent breakout to new highs. But that breakout failed, and we dropped back into our old range. Is a second consolidation period, followed by a secondary mini-meltdown, coming? Mark Twain reportedly said: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." And the charts, in this case, look darn familiar.

Fundamentally, the spreading credit worries, which began in subprime mortgages but have since expanded into the commercial real estate finance arena, the leveraged buyout arena, and other parts of the credit market, don't appear to be contained. That's very similar to what happened in 1998, where concerns over high-risk emerging market debt eventually infected the broader credit markets.

I found an interesting quote from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, by the way, in a Bloomberg story at the time. He said, per the October 7, 1998, piece: "What we're looking at is a fundamental shift" in risk appetites. He added that he has "never seen anything like this before." Maybe nine years later, history will rhyme.


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