30 January 2017

Stock and Precious Metals Charts - The Dark Night of the Soul

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.”

Ian MacLaren

“There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action. All simple souls must admire and respect one another, saying: 'Let us each proceed along our path to the same goal, united in purpose and by means of God's order which, in its great variety, is in us all.'”

Jean-Pierre de Caussade

The Trump trade blinked a bit today, as stocks gave up some of their phenomenal gains on doubts about the presidential ban on visitations from seven countries which had been identified by the prior administrations as high risk locations for terrorists.

While this act was sweeping and lacked finesse, operationally clumsy to say the least, the reaction to it was just about as dramatic, including tears. Well, that's politics in the 21st century. And I am sure we will see much more of this sort of thing over the next few years.

We are going to learn more about ourselves than we may have expected. There is nothing new in this; it is the particular experience of about every other generation and their own 'rendezvous with destiny.' How can we be content when the choices are between the 'lesser of two evils.' They are both evil, and many including me are not happy about it— but it is what it is.

Gold and silver were struggling to make some gains, and ended the sessions largely unchanged. Stocks managed to claws back some of their earlier losses. What a surprise.  The warehouses are pretty much in a lockdown on the Comex.  I find it to be rather uninformative compared to the real markets in Asia which unfortunately are a bit more opaque.

Remember that Wall Street has some seriously large stock IPOs lined up on the runways, and will attempt to hold it together until it can get them off the field and airborne.

Then we will see how the winds may blow.

Longer term patrons of Le Cafe may remember Steve Meyers, who provided commodity commentary on youtube videos that we linked to from here from time to time. As it turns out, Steve has written a book just out called, The Greatest Trade: How Losing It All Became Life's Biggest Blessing.

As so many others, I knew Steve only through his current work, and from the emails we exchanged from time to time on various subjects. I had no idea that Steve had had a rather dramatic introduction into trading futures and commodities some years before. This book starts at the point at which the young trader took 'the big hit,' to the point of losing the family farm, and seriously contemplating suicide in his despair.

What I find engaging about this is that one would have never suspected he had gone through this sort of thing if you spoke with him years afterwards. He was about as calm and level headed a person as one might find.

And the other thing that is remarkable is that most traders will brag about their wins, but rarely if ever admit to their losses. Indeed, unless you are trading on advantaged information, most professional traders will take the 'big hit' now and then, especially when they have had an exceptional run of good fortune.  I am certainly no exception to this, being all too human.

But in this case Steve not only admits it, but takes us into his personal dark night of the soul, and how this turned out to be a redefining moment for him, an experience that changed his life for the better.

I wish him well, and I hope he can help others who have 'screwed up' in various ways, suffered setbacks, and have trouble coping with it, and gathering themselves together to move forward.

We are all imperfect and at times broken people, to some extent and in our own ways, even though there are some who cannot admit it, even to themselves.  And we can find commonality not only in our suffering and setbacks, but more importantly in our response to them.  This is our lot.

Whether it may be divorce, drugs, betrayals, heartbreaks, serious illness, deaths in the family, bad deals, or whatever, what matters is what we do with them.  These are the 'talents' that we are given, along with all the skills, friends, hard work and good fortune, and it is our job to make something with them.

If you have never lost you are probably not really playing the game, yet.  Come what may, what matters most is what you do with it, all of what life brings that shapes who you are.  You can try to deny it, to retreat into drugs, alcohol, narcissism, abusive relationships and the like, overloading your sense to dull the pain—  but you can never really escape it.

I have a small painting hanging in my study, that was given to me by a good friend, teacher, and mentor, long passed away many years ago.   He used to say to us, in all of life's confusions, keep your minds and your hearts focused on the one thing in life that never changes, the immanent presence of God in the Incarnation, the 'little white spot.'

So we may as well use it, all of it, all our experiences, to make the best of life for ourselves and especially for other people and His creatures, even if it is only in our simplicity as we are, in our loving acceptance of a higher power that loves us despite our own weakness and imperfections.

If you would have a worthy purpose in life, feed His little ones, the least of these, through whatever small ways and acts of kindness that you can.

Have a pleasant evening.