"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping up 2010

Well, that's it. From a trading perspective, 2010 is dust and ashes. So, how did the year do?
The Dow closed at 11,577.51, up 1029.00 (9.75%) from 12/31/2009. The NASDAQ closed at 2652.87, up 359.95 (15.7%) from 12/31/2009. The S&P 500 closed at 1257.67, up 131.07 (11.63%) from 12/31/2009. Meanwhile, the 10 Year Treasury Yield Index closed at 33.05, down 5.04 (-13.23%). We won't know until January 7th how unemployment ended up for December, but it was at 10% at the end of December 2009 and last month's figures don't give us much hope that things will be better for this year[1].
The Center for Economics and Business Research is predicting doom for 2011, though. they predict that Spain and Italy will have to refinance around 400 billion euros of bonds in Q2 2011, triggering a new sovereign debt crisis in the European Union. This will weaken the euro further, causing the stronger economies of the EU[2] to consider abandoning the currency. This, plus their considered opinion that the nations wit weaker economies[3] will fail to take any meaningful steps towards becoming competitive, will destroy the euro as we know it. "We give [the euro] only a one in five chance of surviving in its present form for 10 years. If the euro doesn't break up, this could be the year when it weakens substantially toward parity with the dollar."
North Korea is learning to "Bend it like Beckham". The North Korean version presumably involves kneecapping the opposing team's goalie the night before the big game, accusing the kneecapped goalie of having provoked the attack, and then swearing to wage sacred war on anyone who attempts to press charges. Also, only the actual members of the soccer team get to eat; everyone else is encouraged by the Glorious Coach to embrace the "Let's Eat Two Meals Per Day Campaign" while they hunt rats and consider cannibalism[4].
China's President Hu Jintao announced his nation's 12th Five-Year Program, which aims to adopt a "proactive" fiscal policy and a "prudent' monetary policy. They will continue the "one country, two systems" policy with regards to Hong Kong[5]. They still also do not desire to replace the United States as the world's sole economic and political superpower. Really. Just ask them.
And on that note, have a happy new year!
[1] Even if they look better, they may not be better. Remember, if you give up on finding a job, you don't count as unemployed anymore.
[2] *cough*Germany*cough**cough*
[3] *cough*PIIGS*cough**cough*
[4] That may have gone to a darker place than I intended...
[5] That is, they're still a repressive Communist dictatorship. But Hong Kong can continue to be a collection of capitalist running dogs just so long as they produce a lot of wealth for China as a whole and specifically for the Party officials.

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