The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- Is this a joke?
All week I'm in NYC plugging my book,
. (There, got that out of the way.) Some of the interviews centered on Standard & Poor's leaking irrelevant credit downgrades.
Really? Outrage! Like anybody cares, outside of a few day traders, what S&P says unless they want to note the exact time absolutely everyone on planet Earth finally found out Europe has some credit issues.
One question I got asked was: Who actually thought the information was useful? This is equivalent to me asking, last week, who was holding
stock? Nobody emailed me -- I guess readers of
aren't morons. I mean this as a compliment -- you all are clearly not morons, or lying about owning AMR stock. Then, just as I officially got over the S&P question, out comes
strategist Anthony Valery (representing stockbrokers for the masses) on
saying, and I quote:
"S&P should back off. It complicates the job of the EU leaders to resolve the debt problem."
Wow. I'm not outraged, just confused. I think he said this to be cool and ironic in suggesting the EU is so dumb, it really cares at this point. As if nobody in the EU has been watching their credit spread reach new highs (i.e. new lows in confidence) over the past few months. My opinion is, we should not be so rude to the EU leaders and make fun of them like this. They are late in the game and dragged their feet to perhaps the point of no return. I hope my gut is wrong and it is not too late. We should avoid hassling them and let them try and dig out of this mess. Why? It will help hedge funds win an uber-leveraged groupthink bet.
My buddy Josh Brown (aka The Reformed Broker) and I were having lunch yesterday, and we discussed the unilateral trades of hedge funds today -- just write as many credit default swaps against euro debt has humanly possible. They will all get bailed out. Clearly the hedge fund herd isn't complicating matters for the EU with talk of a downgrade. They are fighting to get swaps sold on what they think is a bet with no downside. Perhaps there is a conspiracy to convince the public that S&P is still relevant so there is still a desire to buy CDSs on European debt. The problem? Nobody holding assets with LPL (mom and pop) buys CDSs. Thus, the comments above have to be sarcasm.
Just as a side note, we were eating at the old-school and very tasty Grifone. Josh order off the menu. The Italian waiter said: "I write down what you say and they make it." See, I guess Germany can just write down rules, sanctions, and enforcement actions to the PIIGS and they will do it. It's that easy!
Lee Munson, CFA, CFP, is the founder and chief investment officer of Portfolio LLC, an asset-management firm based in Albuquerque, N.M. His first book, �Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at its Own Game� (John Wiley & Sons), was published in December. Munson is a frequent guest on CNBC�s "The Kudlow Report." His contributions have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," "Forbes," "Smart Money," "Kiplinger�s Personal Finance," "CFA Magazine," "SeekingAlpha.com" and "TheStreet."