Nightmare on Wall Street?
The re-make of the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street opened last weekend at #1 at the box office with $32.2 million in ticket sales. Audiences screamed at the latest Freddie Krueger reincarnation, watching victim after victim get carved up after falling asleep. We then went back to work on Monday and watched Wall Street become haunted by the Greek debt crisis, after an initial rebound on Monday from Friday’s fall. On Thursday, the dangers of falling asleep were starkly realized when a sudden 1,000 point drop in the DOW over a few minutes around 2:45 p.m. Eastern time threw traders into confused turmoil. Did the market trading systems break down? Did one tiny error on a P&G trade really create such a sudden collapse? What really happened? Did we all fall asleep and invite Freddie into our portfolios?
MarketBOB maintains that our emotional anxiety or euphoria is reflected in our movie choices at the box office. The subliminal choices we make at the cinema signal our collective consciousness. Last week, the investing herd wanted to escape into familiar, scary territory. Good old Freddie Krueger was an old friend, scary but familiar. We could be scared but not afraid because we knew what to expect from Freddie. He was predictable. For the last year, we have climbed out of the depths of the Great Recession on the back of zombies, apocalyptic fantasies, 3D marvels and superheroes, escaping (and perhaps ignoring) our worries and anxiety over the future. Or just ignoring the future because we have no idea what lies ahead and that is too scary to admit to ourselves.
The box office triumph of A Nightmare on Elm Street was the signal that we’re living in a scary economic world and we cannot afford to nod off for a second or the market will slice and dice our investments like the blades on Freddie’s fingers. Sleep well, little investment babies…if you can.