October 09, 2008

Next Week's Market Forecast

WELL. THAT WAS A TOUGH DAY. Now that the market is in complete freefall mode, and we're all due to be ruined shortly, I got to thinking about how to handle the future.

I must confess to a moment of wickedness here. Given these tough times, I should have consulted the Bible and its divine wisdom for inspiration. After all, does not the LORD say to us (Mt. 6:24-34):

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you: take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or, 'What shall we drink?' or, 'Wherewithal shall we be clothed?' For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Yes, He does.

Actually, that's really good advice, given the situation in which we find ourselves. The only trouble is that when I started this entry, I wasn't in the right frame of mind to take it -- and I'm still not. So for the moment, I'm going to stick with my original plan, which is trying to figure out how the market will turn out next week. To do this, I consulted the I Ching, or Book of Changes, the ancient Chinese divination text.

The Book of Changes plays a major role in Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle," perhaps the science-fiction author's best-known work. In the book -- which examines a world in which the Nazis and Japanese won World War II -- most of the major characters turn to the I Ching for guidance. All one has to do is ask it a question, and it spits out an answer after the divination takes place. The real trick comes in interpreting the book's answer -- which, like the Oracle at Delphi, can be mysterious.

Since actually using the I Ching for divination purposes is really hard and time-consuming, I cheated and used a fancy on-line automatic I Ching diviner, which does all the calculations after one asks a question. The question I asked was, "How will the market do next week?" Let's see what the I Ching has to say:

The present is embodied in Hexagram 44 (Coupling). We see a female who is bold and strong. It will not be good to marry such a female. The fourth line, undivided, shows its subject with his wallet, but no fish in it. This will give rise to evil. The situation is evolving slowly, and Yin is gaining ground.

You're damn right it will give rise to evil. I have no fish in my wallet, which means I can't buy fish at the sushi place I like, and that is clearly evil. Verily, I am wroth. Everything I've worked for over the past decade is slowly dissipating and at the rate things are going, I will be broke and begging for alms within a matter of weeks. And although I guess I should be happy with a hexagram with the title "Coupling," that has nothing to do with the question I asked, so I am entirely out of luck. (And I like bold and strong women).

Yin is gaining ground. Hmmmm. Well, according to Wikipedia -- and how could that be wrong? -- "Yin is usually characterized as slow, soft, insubstantial, cold, wet, and tranquil. It is generally associated with the feminine, and with night."

So if Yin is gaining ground, it must mean that we have entered a period of darkness and being insubstantial -- we're already there, I guess -- but it is also slow and tranquil. That must also mean conditions are now ripe for the panic to end sometime soon.

The future is embodied in Hexagram 57 (Ground). There will be some little attainment and progress. There will be advantage in movement onward in whatever direction. It will be advantageous to see the great man.

Hmmm. That sounds better! Some little attainment and progress. Well, that could mean stocks will go up slightly next week and people will start to relax. Even better is that line about there being "advantage in movement in either direction." If the market goes down, then that will put everyone in a better position to buy. If the market goes up, that will have an obvious advantage. But who is the great man?

Gee, that's troublesome. Maybe this means that Secretary Paulson or Chairman Bernanke will appear on television and say something important. Maybe Warren Buffett will do something. Maybe another great man, one I haven't yet considered, will pull our chestnuts out of the fire. Still, this would seem to signal better times ahead, and so maybe this will work!

Then again, the Asian markets are down -- by a LOT. Just in case, I'm going to do some more Bible reading.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at October 9, 2008 11:25 PM | TrackBack
Comments

This is good stuff, Ben. Some timely theological insights! I'm planning to preach on this topic (financial calamity) soon -- probably Oct. 19th. I just might use the passage you quoted from the Sermon on the Mount for the scripture lesson that Sunday. I've had my sermon title ready for a couple weeks now -- "God's Bail-Out Plan."
Remember, things could always be worse. At least you're not a Bengals fan! :-)

DEK

Posted by: Rev. Uncle Dave at October 10, 2008 05:11 PM
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