I took Friday off to go skiing in Western New York. When we arrived at Peak N Peak, it was about fifty degrees outside and raining cats and dogs, so we took a pass and continued to a friend’s house on Chautauqua, where we proceeded to eat, play poker, and watch more movies than I would care to admit. Over a few short hours, the temperature dropped no less than forty degrees, which provided us with a great, albeit cold Saturday of skiing at Holiday Valley. This morning, the pipes in one of our bathrooms started to freeze, it snowed in Atlanta, and a Nor’easter hit the East coast of the United States.
That just about sums up how the markets have made me feel over the last two trading sessions. I had held out high hopes that we’d be able to hold the November lows in spite of more difficult news, but Friday’s last half hour of trading proved me wrong. The markets are selling off even more aggressively today, and it is difficult to handicap where the next resting point might be. Friday’s Citigroup news, General Electric’s dividend cut, today’s additional government “investment” in AIG, and Obama’s overly ambitious first hundred days may be partly to blame, but who knows for sure. People just don’t want to own anything and for now, everything is being marked down to clear inventory.
Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, reported its worst quarter in history, with profits down over ninety percent, while the company’s book value declined by roughly nine percent for 2008. Warren admitted to making some “dumb” mistakes in 2008 and sees a rocky year for the economy in 2009 and perhaps beyond. He still, however, holds out hope that stocks can perform well from here. I agree with Warren, but it ain’t easy. It’s been an all out drubbing this year, with the worst February on record following one of the worst January’s.
For now, the pain reminds me of exam week during my college days. It’s unbearably grueling, but – I keep telling myself – the end WILL come. Persevere. Tomorrow WILL be brighter.