Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Portrait of a market in distress

If you had any doubt that we live in interesting times, check out this amazing stock chart:
That's Japan's Nikkei 225 average over the past 5 trading days. It looks like it was drawn by a five-year-old who doesn't understand the concept; since when are stock charts made up of straight lines and gaps?

Even more interesting is that this is an *average* of 225 stocks. Isn't diversity supposed to even out fluctuations? The entire world financial system is now learning the painful lesson discovered by Long-Term Capital Management in 1998 -- that in edge and corner cases, entire asset classes, and multiple asset classes, can unexpectedly be deeply correlated, with the result being severe dislocation. Condos in South Florida and the Icelandic Krona -- who knew?

Everyone who hasn't yet read Nassim Taleb's _Black Swan_, get busy. It is well on its way to being book of the decade.

No comments: