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Trading The Stock Market V Barak Obama

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Home Page > Finance > Investing > Trading The Stock Market V Barak Obama

Trading The Stock Market V Barak Obama

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Posted: Mar 03, 2010 |Comments: 0
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As we avoid another nasty drop in the stock market and move back up into safer territory one has to ask a question. How many more of these blips are we likely to see before the markets become a little calmer?

In Europe, the ‘Greece situation’ is clearly not helping matters. On the other side of the pond things have also been a little edgy.

President Obama’s oft mentioned change-for-the-better seems to be running full tilt into his waning public popularity. And, as with nearly all politicians since the dawn of time, the knee jerk reaction is to enact some ill-thought-out, shooting from the hip, populist legislation.

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So much for yet another New Dawn for politics.

For the last year or so, the desire of politicians and regulators to punish those who they believe are responsible for the financial crisis has always been self defeating.

If you want growth you must not only have ‘responsible’ lending which is safe and easy for everyone. You also need some ‘risky’ lending from banks and private equity willing to take a position on a person or product. The West looks like it wants to scrap the very tools that oil the wheels of our economies.

Every time Obama talks about regulation, stocks in the major investment banks go into a spin as the implications seep into the market’s consciousness.

One of the more recent targets has been the banks proprietary trading desks. Of course this is one of those areas that politicians consistently rail against but which is actually rather difficult to quantify.

A trader ‘market making’ for their bank/investment house and adding liquidity to the market might easily be said to be ‘proprietary’ trading. However, at what point does a trade become ‘voluntary’ as opposed to ‘involuntary’? How on earth would a regulator identify it?

As Simon Denham of Financial Spread recently commented, “Whilst political rhetoric tends to cause the markets to dip, the real problems would occur if the regulators stop banks providing credit and margin lending to Hedge Funds. Hedge Funds definitely do proprietary trade.

“If a bank is not permitted to take part in the grey area of proprietary trading then how can the bank lend or provide margin and/or credit limits to its clients who do? If this lending facility is removed then what of the recent tendency of pension and investment funds etc to provide margin cover to hedge funds that make proprietary trades on their behalf?

“The big speculative markets might well experience a swift and nasty bump to the downside”.

The US markets are holding up at the moment but this support might depend on how much of the rally has been built upon speculative margin trading. If that was put under real pressure from the regulators then we might be in problems.

However, as you can probably tell from reading this, I am not the biggest fan of our politicians, irrespective of their leanings.

My opinion counts for little but a politician can cause the markets to dip. However the markets often bounce back quickly when they realize that any new proposals are hot air at best or, at worst, the proposals will be watered down and take years to implement.

When the politicians have talked, the markets have dropped. These drops have been buying opportunities in the stock market. Let’s hope this is another false dawn for politics and that the buying opportunities continue.

Of course, if Barak Obama is cut from a different cloth and he is able to induce change then those trading the stock markets should do so with extreme caution.

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Robert Thomas
About the Author:

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The writer is a seasoned financial author offering strategic and tactical trading views on the US and UK spread betting markets.

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