Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 Lookback: Oddities

MarketBeat has run some 2008 Lookback lists (links below) the last couple days, this one stood out:

There were plenty of disappointments, surprises, bad decisions and obnoxious comments throughout the year, and then there were a number of events that were just downright odd. Here is MarketBeat’s list of a few of the strange things encountered during the year.

1. CDS Cannot Be Played With Headphones: It was only this year that a previously ignored market started to mean more than anything else. Suddenly, everyone wanted to know about the credit-default swaps market, using the quotes in this thinly traded, non-transparent market as a basis for which to move the entire equity market on a given day. For a market that didn’t exist a decade earlier, that’s some kind of growth. Some derided it as just a dressed-up version of portfolio insurance, and the revelations that some were allegedly using these markets to introduce fear into the equity market did not seem surprising.
2. Big Bottom: Every bit of twisted alchemy that was relied on in the past to suggest that the market, at last, had hit bottom, was trotted out during the steady deterioration of the markets throughout the year, and then especially in the September-to-November grind. Those old saws included the VIX’s ascendancy, days that produced more than 90% of stocks finishing higher, heavy volume of sales, supposed kitchen-sink quarters, and various other events. None of those were correct, and it got so ugly that some elected to try to watch the stars for clues.

From MarketBeat:
2008 Lookback: Best Calls of the Year
2008 Lookback: Worst Calls of the Year
2008 Lookback: Where to Start?