- why it's tough for those who are bullish on the European crisis;
- why Google looks unstoppable right now; and
- why it's so easy to knock down the Oil Service HOLDRs ETF.
Perception and Reality Posted at 3:50 p.m. EDT on Friday, Oct. 14. What I wouldn't do to have a true, two-sided argument about what can happen in Europe. What I wouldn't give to have the consequences for being wrong be equal. But they aren't. Consider this: If you say that we will get through this European crisis without much damage and no Lehman-like apocalypse that allows you to make money in U.S. stocks, you will be ridiculed beyond belief if our markets get hit hard on a wrong turn in Europe. You will be pilloried for being a true joker, a cockeyed optimist, a lightweight who didn't understand the gravity of the situation. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll It doesn't matter that you caught one of the greatest moves of many years, this 12% gain off the bottom, because you actually believed that something could work out. These points in the bears eyes are totally illegitimate and not worth the risk of getting. But the flip side isn't true. It is even easier right now, after a run, to say, "It's all a short squeeze. It's all a canard and a mirage. You just wait until this French bank or that European country collapses and we will be down 1,000, 2,000 maybe 3,000 Dow points." That mantra can be said over and over, no matter how high we go. It doesn't matter. The bear case never loses its gravitas. It is always right. It is always just about to occur. If the market doesn't go down, it is always "just about to happen." You buy this rally, and you will be crushed. If we do get a vast selloff after a calamity, you will always be known as a seer, smarter than everyone else. If you run a hedge fund, you will get billions in. If you run an advisory firm, you will be inundated with media requests. You will be a sung hero.