Yeah! The Greeks Voted!

For the Xn-th time, important events took place in Europe that either did or did not resolve an impending crisis, one that is either imminent or not. As you likely heard, this was absolutely and unequivocally crucial, unless it turns out not to have mattered much. Either of which is an equally likely outcome.

Indeed, this past week was absolutely critical to the markets and the Euro, except that it wasn’t. The Greek elections determining their future relationship to the EuroZone was simply of the utmost importance, unless, as we found out, it was not.

Yes, they did not matter; No, it was not unimportant. Unless it was the other way around. In which case it did/didn’t was/wasn’t.

If you are not yet confused, then you have not been paying attention.

The ‘mother of all central bank interventions’ is going to save Europe, unless it doesn’t, in which case it is back to square one for the EU. Everything has changed, except that nothing is different. Which means that nothing has changed, except for everything. Unless it wasn’t, in which case it was. (Glad I got THAT off my chest).

We also are closely watching the fiscal responsibility issue, which as many of you know is the single most important issue ever, except for the past half century, when it didn’t matter at all. This has been resolved once and for all, permanently and completely, by postponing it yet again.

Here in the States, the upcoming Fiscal Cliff is the most important issue of our time, except it has never mattered and is likely to be resolved without incident. Unless not, in which case, so sorry about that credit outlook downgrade.

Indeed, this is the most important election of our lifetimes, except for all the other ones. They were super important, except for the ones that were not. Which is to say, all of them.

This week’s FOMC meeting will reveal whether QE3 is imminent, which it is, according to those who know. Unless its not, which is equally as likely.  Then no, not so much.

Operation Twist could be extended. Or expanded. Or canceled. Unless not.

The Fed will be releasing their announcement at 2:15 on Wednesday. Unless like last time, they are late, in which case it will be 2:30. Ish.

This will cause another Risk On rally as traders anticipate the Fed’s action, unless it doesn’t, as traders don’t. And if they don’t, or in case the Fed doesn’t. Or won’t. It starts to get fuzzy around this juncture

The key is not whether they won’t or didn’t, but more importantly, were anticipated to have done one  of those, which is of course dependent upon how slavishly you are devoted to the proper usage of past verb tenses. Which as this writing implies, I am not. Or were not. I wasn’t sure which.

More importantly, you must be on the look out for rumors or reports that may or may not be true and do or don’t matter. Or not.

In which case yes, thank you, I will have another.

I hope this clarifies the state of things . . .

Category: Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

44 Responses to “Unless & Except . . .”

  1. InterestedObserver says:

    Sounds about right…, or not, depending.

    I guess we have to face it. The ability to react instantaneously means you have to do just that. Even when it’s random noise.

  2. Moss says:

    The bankster fiat world is so efficient, stable and predictable.

  3. dougc says:

    Europe is fixed. The bond holders and banks will received their payments and Greece will fall further into the debt abyss. Spain is next.

  4. Chief Tomahawk says:

    “Most importantly, you must be on the look out for rumors or reports that may or may not be true and do or don’t matter. Or not.”

    Now warming up in the bullpen, Charlie Gasparino!!

  5. dead hobo says:

    BR observed:

    I hope this clarifies the state of things . . .

    Not really. We still don’t know how your encounter with Howard Stern turned out from a couple of weeks ago, or didn’t turn out because you possible missed each other … or didn’t, or won’t admit to. But, please, only the squalid details.

    Seriously, I’m treating this economy as an intellectual exercise until some clarity emerges. ‘Risk On’ and liquidity appear tightly interlinked. Plateaus appear when liquidity is used up. Drops occur when liquidity becomes tight. If QE3 does not appear, (likely because I THINK they will only use that gun when the world is actually crashing, as opposed to dragging a bit in the dust) and Twist ends at 6-30-2012 as scheduled, then will markets plateau at this level until there is a legitimate reason to go up or down that affects liquidity? Algos and their artificial velocity will keep the intermediate trends upwards on empty calories with rapid corrections, but that is only for day traders, according to my theories being tested.

  6. PeterR says:


    Are we in Kansas yet, Toto?

  7. ilsm says:

    “When all logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead”.

  8. Jim67545 says:

    Sounds like my broker’s updates. I think you are correct.

  9. rjb says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Get back to you soon…..

  10. He He…good one, Barry! So, what’s new, eh! :-)

  11. constantnormal says:

    “I hope this clarifies the state of things . . .”

    … except for the hedges, and the hedges on the hedges, and (recursively repeat ad infinitum) …

  12. rd says:

    The solution is very simple for all the countries in the developed world (and somethat are still developing).

    Simply print as much money as the governments and banks require to fulfill all of their desires without creating any hyperinflation or deflation.

    A few mathematical formulae from the Austrian, Chicago, and Keynesian schools of economics are all that are required to ensure nirvana. They just need to apply whichever formula seems appropriate for the momentary need that they have.

    Nothing can go wrong. Even if it does go wrong, it is generally the lower classes that take the brunt of war or famine anyway, so it still won’t be particularly important.

  13. acme says:

    Ha ha! Who knew you were so funny?


    BR: Readers ?

  14. louiswi says:

    At least we should all be able to agree that low taxes or non payment of taxes is not the road to prosperity the laugher curve followers continually argue. That arguement seems to be settled.

  15. WFTA says:


  16. Winston Munn says:

    “May you live in confusing times” – new old Chinese proverb.

  17. godot10 says:

    “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…”

  18. MojaveMax says:

    The current iteration would be better represented symbolically using subscript rather than superscript. Or not.

  19. pintelho says:

    IOW…ignore the news read the charts.

  20. NoKidding says:

    Very astute, but I thought it was childish. I just want markets to be rational again, like they never were before, so the positions I’ve taken based on conflicting inevitabile possibilities make me richer than I want to have been.

  21. wnsrfr says:

    Great, funny word play. Like a higher-level mad-libs endless iteration of “on the other hand…”

  22. CANDollar says:

    Thanks for this it was funny.
    I agree with dead hobo above.
    From an investment perspective the lack of clarity on so many fronts implies exploiting the optionality of cash and maybe some cheap out of the money calls and puts on major indexes for good measure?

  23. MikeDonnelly says:

    Shockingly that actually helps. It’s good to know I’m not alone in thinking this way.

  24. brandnet says:

    Perfectly clear, should I go long now, or maybe not? Should I consider being short, or probably long, unless I shouldn’t.


    BR: Exactly as I suggested above.

  25. Winston Munn says:

    Artist formerly known as Clear Skies

  26. TacomaHighlands says:

    The is the first thing I’ve read in a while that calmed me down!

  27. Uchicagoman says:

    Hah, beautifully composed: utterly demystifying, yet perfectly obscure.

    Have you been reading Søren Kierkegaard?

  28. carleric says:

    In the market? Are you insane? Go buy a 6-pack or a 12-pack or a case, get your fishing gear together and go do something worthwhile

  29. techy says:

    Conclusion: STAY IN CASH

  30. AHodge says:

    let me clarify–or guess–not that anybody knows
    they have ignored their credit shutdown till there are bank runs and their macro and jobs “hair is on fire”
    but otherwise its far more complex
    in a bad way-real bad
    than a “normal” business cycle

    simply put
    1 its brokebank mountain to at least euro 2 trillion
    2 the whole southern tier and ireland never had any growth after great recession #1 in 2009
    3they also let their currencies get 15% 30% overvalued
    4they have also tied their fiscal/ monetary policies to the euro mast and cant do anything
    5greeece and spain are headed for depression 25% unemployment accelerating
    6germany and the othercreditors have literally no idea how to do a debt rescheduling and get repaid-they have forgotten all hard won knowledge learned in the over decades-and the debtors are apparently as bad
    7the only rescue on the table is a multibillions eurobond basically to bail the banks and bondholders out 100% germany finland austria are giving that a complete NEIN and rightly so
    2-3 trillion for emergency fiscal would be an excellent idea-and some proper debt rescheduling defined elsewhere

    i tell my european friends esp southern to plant vegetable gardens and think green-
    all that nasty polluting output is going to go away

  31. AHodge says:

    make that eurobond
    that aint going to happen
    a multi trillions eurobond

  32. MidlifeNocrisis says:

    Great read. Thanks for that, BR.

  33. AHodge says:

    since the southern are all still euro
    i mean let their internal price wage levels get 15-30% overvalued compared to their pegged euro currency

  34. DuchessGateau says:

    European leaders will soon begin their 2-month summer vacation. Two entire months where no big decisions can be made, no action taken, and the entire continent is fine with this. Regular people take one month off, and the elite take two. Wars and crises can take care of themselves, as they always do during summer.

  35. ywsimw says:

    This is just a TERRIFIC post !
    Thanks for the good laugh (or cry).

  36. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Simply brilliant. Except for the points that weren’t.

  37. Braden says:

    Allan Greenspan called. He’s wondering about the royalties you owe. Unless you don’t.

  38. ToNYC says:

    Clarity is a demand best directed toward history. What makes life profound and enchantingly mysterious is the fact we can not know the future if we brave living in the present. Why rush? When you get there, there you are.

  39. Christopher says:

    The markets are broken.

    They have been broken for a long time now.

    Greece is US…..not THEM.

    It is simply of matter of time.

  40. ben22 says:

    funny stuff BR….nice one

  41. kaleberg says:

    I think the Greek situation is far from resolved. Greece has decided to accept the terms of the bailout, remain – for now – in the EU, and shrink its economy to help pay off the debt and interest. That makes sense. Taking a pay cut is a surefire way to work down your debt. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Greece, but I have even less for the bankers who lent them so much money. What on earth were they thinking?

    What are they thinking now? Sure, Greece will make the next few payments, but the economy is just going to get worse and worse. Then there will be another crisis, and maybe another bailout. Greece couldn’t repay the debt in top financial form. It sure isn’t going to handle the debt with a much smaller, shrinking economy saddled with a large unrepayable debt. The bankers should have checked Wikipedia before making the loans. Did I ask what they were thinking?

    There are two end games. Either some government is going accept that one can’t get blood from a turnip and bail out the bankers and tell them to give up on Greece, or the bankers are going to accept that they can’t get blood from a turnip and write off their losses and give up on Greece. Greece actually repaying the loans is not going to happen, because you can’t get blood from a turnip. (Ironically, this resembles the repeated reparations crises of the 20s and early 30s that ended with Germany repudiating its war debt. Sorry, even in the good old days, you couldn’t get blood from a turnip.)

    It’s like those action movies they aren’t sure how to tend so they tack on a series of explosions, narrow escapes and ridiculous revelations until they run out of film stock. Well, the EU and Greece just bought themselves some extra film stock.

  42. natelyswhore says:

    Joseph Heller would be proud, awesome post.

  43. WolfStreet says:

    I neither agree nor disagree with you BR. Quite the opposite in fact. xD

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