Monday, September 29, 2008


The CEO of a London based investment firm stepped in front of a train this morning. He was reported to be a dedicated and loving father and husband.

There were a couple of bank take overs in Europe over the weekend. This "crisis" has probably already reached its peak. There are billions of people hurting. The pain is great but it will make us strong.

Housing starts per 1,000 people in the US has reached lows not seen in my lifetime. The number is down to 2. The number was 6 in 2005. It reached 2.3 in 1982, 2.5 in 1991, and 3.1 in 1974. All of the low number years were great years to buy stocks, particularly surviving financial stocks. All of the low years were times of great consolidation in the financial arena. The difference in being the last to survive is an infinite number. The equity value of financial instruments at the turn will go from very small numbers to huge numbers.

It continues to be true that the turn is here. Even with huge amounts of equity being wiped out by the collapse of a bank here and an insurance company there, the financial sector is still showing relative strength. Basic materials are down over 10% in London and over 7% in New York. Natural gas companies are down 7.25% this morning, more than the average bank stock. On the way down, it seems silly to be proud of losing less money than the next guy, but when the bounce comes, it will be very nice to have made a lot more than the next guy.

Please pray for those families who are in the greatest financial stress today. Many families in Winston Salem are hurting this morning. Several of my friends have a substantial portion of their retirement accounts invested in WB stock. These friends are concerned about their jobs at a time when they have taken a serious financial hit. Citibank will need most of these people on the job, but many employees are in a state of shock.

I hope we will all use this experience as a spring board to greater faith, hope, strength and love. Tough times do not last but tough people do.