End of Day Update:
Stocks ended flat as all eyes were turned toward a meeting between Greece and European finance ministers. While progress was made, they failed to reach an agreement and pushed the final deal making to Monday’s meeting.
Clearly the market should be paying attention, but is it something we need to worry about? It seems every bearish amateur investor with a Twitter account is proclaiming the #Grexit will annihilate our market. They confidently believe they have some cunning insight that everyone else is too stupid to recognize. But do they really?
In the summer of 2008, very few professionals knew what MBS and CDS stood for, let alone the risks they posed to our financial system. Only in the aftermath of the collapse did people finally realize what happened. Now compare that blindside to the Grexit that retail investors have been discussing in coffee shops for nearly five years. Everyone in the market is fixated on each twist and turn in the Greek story, meaning if this thing blows up, it won’t catch anyone by surprise. Some predict this is just another false alarm, but even the optimist is well aware of the risks because this story is moving so slowly it is nearly old enough to enter kindergarten. With so much time to prepare, major institutions long ago hedged their exposure and a Greek default will be as traumatic to our financial system as Y2K was.
And there is another thing, markets tend to blow negative news out of proportion. The herd gets spooked and traders stampede for the exits. But we haven’t seen the fear of the unknown and the herd selling yet. What gives?
While every bearish amateur is waiting for the other shoe to drop, what if it already dropped, only no one heard it? If everyone knows about something and has plenty of time to prepare, doesn’t that mean it is already priced in? Hasn’t everyone who fears the #Grexit had plenty of time to sell? If all these people sold ahead of time, then who is left to sell when it happens? Contrary to popular perception, the market doesn’t need to crash for bearish news to be priced in.
There are a lot of things for us to worry about, but the Grexit is not one of them. The market is not reacting to these headlines, not because it is stupid, but because it is more savvy than the amateur investors predicting its demise.
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Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and writer who has successfully traded stocks and options for more than a decade. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA and M.S. Marketing from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes manufacturing engineering at Fortune 500 companies, structural engineering, small business consultant, collegiate instructor, and managing investment real estate. He is now fortunate enough to trade full-time from home, affording him the luxury of spending extra time with his wife and two young children.