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News Comment
a personal view from Erithacus

14th December 2003 

Despite finishing the week on a reasonably optimistic note, UK stockmarkets had fallen heavily mid-week and the FTSE100 index finished 19.4 points lower than the previous Friday’s close.

In a week which saw such optimism on the American stock markets that the Dow Jones index closed above 10,000 on two consecutive days, Thursday and Friday, and in which the FTSE100 index on Tuesday again pushed briefly past 4,400, some analysts expressed surprise at the mid-week falls. Others, however, said they were looking at a sudden move out of equities by a significant number of medium-term investors who would probably be looking to build careful positions in the New Year, but leaving the market for the moment to those with short-term interests.

If correct, this promises a rough ride for investors and traders during the remaining trading days this year, with prices plunging and rising even more violently than they have done in recent months. The only hope of a rapid return to stability would, in that case, be that the end of week rises in the U.S. markets will encourage UK investors to return for fear of missing the opportunity



As I was finishing the quick look at the week's stock markets, rumours started of the capture of Saddam Hussein, and somehow the other topics I had considered writing about became less important or at the very least far less interesting.  Quite apart from anything else, the "feel good" factor should at the very least give the stock markets a kick upwards on Monday morning, but whether it will be enough to maintain an upwards movement remains to be seen.

So the rest of this week's News Comment became delayed until today, Sunday, and now that the news has not only been confirmed but also repeated ad nauseam on every news channel from every angle every journalist could think of, it seems somewhat superfluous to rehash it again here.

By next week, no doubt, the story may have developed into something worth taking apart or considering from a more personal point of view.

Or not....

There is a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelly called Ozymandias which I feel is somehow rather appropriate:

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.






14th December 2003                        

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