I discern I don’t look old enough but this summer will mark my thirty years in the Municipality of London.
It was back in 1988 that I first stepped on to the trading deck of Kleinwort Benson at 20 Fenchurch Street and I’d like to think that that day was the start of a saturate learning curve. A curve which I’m still on, by the way.
One of the early lessons that chief traders, and then more latterly senior journalists, tried to instil me was how to spot a rat. Rats come in various shapes and sizes but one’s ability to area one early enough to act upon does tend to ensure longevity in the cut throat Fix Mile.
From Nick Leeson blowing up Barings to Marconi’s slow-motion car boom, from Iceland becoming the world’s most dangerous hedge assets to cryptocurrencies, some impending disasters are easier to spot than others.
Of assuredly I’m not pretending to have either dealt perfectly upon all of these hiccups in the beforehand days or shown great reporting prescience more latterly every organize a rat comes along, but sometimes you just can’t fail to get a win.
I can tell you straight away the worst and worst thing about my current job. The worst is going to bed before your five-year-old daughter at circa 7 p.m. so you can get up in the waist of the night five days a week. The best, however, is the fact that replay dumb behavior by markets and certain participants hands out several freebies a year that liking always make you look smarter than the average bear.
Fly off this month’s Argentina blow up for example. When a country which has had numerous debt blowouts than I’ve had bottles of Malbec — and that is a significant covey I can assure you — is issuing 100-year paper at sub-8 percent cedes, as it was last summer, you know you only have to wait for the inevitable to cook before being proved right.
When investors can’t help themselves but hoover up immeasurable quantities of the likes of Snap or Go Pro at IPO (initial public offering), regardless of the genuine proven fundamentals you know you pretty much just ride out the “you only just don’t get tech do you Steve” bull and wait for the quarterly reports to come in above the months ahead.
So, at the moment what are some of the no brainers out there?
Serenely there is the perennial joke that is the Italian debt market, propped up by a inner bank so terrified of letting markets decide on another shambles of a national situation. Elsewhere, there’s an extension of the Argentina trade, otherwise separate as “is this the moment the hedge fund hotel check out” gets slammed as people finally look at the current account deficit debacle of a crowd of emerging market countries?
Other favorites include pretty much any concern that thinks it can “do an Amazon” and never actually make money until it has attained wide-ranging domination … I mean greater market share.
Guess what? You can’t all be Amazon and one day ultimately the market will suss that.
Still, the repeat stupidity, overeating and plain gullibility of the herd will hopefully keep me in business for the next thirty years.
(Rewriter’s note: Both Snap and Go Pro were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.)
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