Last month investors were saying "Wake Me Up When September Ends" in hopes that all of the turmoil in the financial markets was just a dream. October came, and the story was still unsettled. Today, it is hard to find a stock that was down. Across the board, virtually every equity saw a boost in trading as a solution to the financial crisis seems to be at hand. Sirius XM Radio enjoyed a pop of nearly 20%, and while it is far from recovering to levels of a year ago, it is at least a respite in what can only be described as a depressing trend.
On most days, news of a 20% gain would be great. It may mean that a company has made some major news in some way, and that the company has a bright future. In this market, such a gain is not that big a deal. The market is a roller coaster, and exhibits symptoms of being bi-polar. Prices have been at extremes. Extreme lows followed by extreme highs, only to fall down again. The cycle is tiresome, and shakes the confidence of everyone. It is hard enough to find quality investments. Throw extreme volatility into the mix, and there is little surprise that a 20% gain does very little to instill confidence on an overall scale.
Satellite radio investors have seen tremendous happenings over the past few months, but there is little that translates to a better stock price. Confidence in the company, which was already considered an investment with risk, has less of an influence than confidence in the overall system.
Everywhere you turn things seem to look bleak. When you find a silver lining, it is quickly tempered with some form of bad news or another. Today's gain for satellite radio may have challenges in remaining sticky. Car sales are still down, and the debt issue is still where it was a month ago. The change that brought everyone a green day is in the underlying support system of the financial system. When confidence builds on that, then and only then, can gains stand the test of time.
As investors now consider the damage they have sustained, they are also seeking solutions going forward. Stuffing your mattress with cash seems safe in the moment of crisis, but now people are trying to plan what actions they need to take going forward. Where to invest their money, and how much risk to absorb will be key considerations. Likely, the risk levels in many portfolios will be less than before, and the good ole stand-by's for investment safety will need reconsideration as well.
As this assessment happens, people will be looking for quality companies with potential. Whether Sirius XM Radio fits that bill is virtually unknown until the street gets to see some financials of the combined company. Should sentiment on Sirius XM Radio improve, it could help stabilize the price, and perhaps be a foundation for upward movement, albeit slowly. I myself am meeting with a second financial advisor next week to strategize and look at what actions I want to take going forward. I think over the coming months many people will be doing the same.
So enjoy the green day while we have it, and as always, keep your eyes open to what is happening in the overall market.
Position - Long SIRI