The End Of An Empire

So if anyone out there still thought that the American markets still was the at the forefront of all the markets around the world and this was still the most “fundamentally strong” market out there… you must have had a rude awakening yesterday with the announcement of Lehman filing for Chapter 11, Merrill Lynch getting gobbled up by Bank of America and the ever-safe AIG also saying it is in severe financial trouble.

Bank of America is currently holding pretty steady even though their stocks took a hit yesterday like everyone else’s regardless of their acquisition of Merril Lynch which responded favorably.

This is probably only the beginning.

Things should probably get a whole lot more worse before they start to take a turn for better. It won’t matter who takes office next January because there is no magic potion that you can just use to solve all the problems overnight. There was a good Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times titled “Wall Street’s Next Big Problem” which talks about why the government can’t let A.I.G go under and saying if you thought Lehman was bad for the market, wait until AIG fails.

One positive sign in all this has to be the dramatic fall of oil prices which has gone from being nearly $150 a barrel in mid-July to being a shade over $90 yesterday. One has to wonder what is driving these prices down. Is it price manipulation once again which we are used to seeing in election years that the price falls to ease concerns of Americans as they head to the polls? I don’t remember any other time where the price of gas at the pumps fell so dramatically over the course of the summer… usually the peak of gas prices for the year.

I’ll finish on a cynical note regarding the virtual stock market game I play. I did short Lehman’s stock (LEH) about two weeks ago which did wonders for my portfolio that had taken a major hit. It seems like the only way to make money on the market these days is to continue to short these for the short term future.

You guys have any thoughts?