A Little Bubbly for the Markets

Posted: Jan 05, 2012 12:01 AM

Ringing in the New Year, many people celebrate with a glass, a bottle (or maybe even more), of champagne. 

The effervescence gives a tingle to the nose and a kick to the palette.  That’s what bubbles are supposed to do. 

When you’re consuming that delicious elixir the world always seems to be a better place.  The more you consume, the more the problems, the troubles, and the concerns fade away and become distant memories. 

That is why more champagne is consumed on New Year’s Eve than at any other time of the year. 

Sadly, there is a much bigger price to be paid for the euphoria compared to the superficial happiness caused by the excess consumption.  It is called the hangover, the day after, or the morning wake up call. 

At least once, most have suffered the pain of consuming more than his or her fair share.  The usual questions asked and promises made include “what was I thinking?” or “why did I do it?” and “never again.” 

Until the next time. 

New Year’s Eve comes but once a year, and by the time it rolls around again, the pain and suffering has been long forgotten. 

All that is remembered is the pleasure of the moment.  Bubbles in a champagne glass are obvious, and the consumption or quality thereof is always visible. 

However, the effects are gradual and not always immediately apparent.  To others, yes.  But not to the person consuming. 

So it is with every other bubble.  Whether it’s a bulb (tulip mania of 1637), a place to live (the housing sector), a shiny piece of metal (gold), or even a thing called….stocks.  Getting caught up in the enthusiasm always emits the unspoken thought “this time, it’s different.” 

We revel with each sip of the glass as our bubble gets larger and larger.  We chastise anyone that wants to take our glass away.  We feel so good, how can anything be wrong?  As long as the evening continues, we consume more, and more, and more. 

Until it’s time to go home, and the first rays of sunlight start to peak through. 

Then, the cold reality of the hangover becomes very apparent. 

Why do we do it over and over again, we ask? 

It was so obvious in 1929, the Nikkei, dot-com, housing, and the debt crisis.  Yes, it was very obvious, but only after the fact. 

We want it to be so, we like it, and we want it to continue. 

Whether its investments, or just a good glass of champagne, bubbles are the most exhilarating things in the world. 

Until they’re not.