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Contributed by Bill Bonner
Publisher of: The Fleet Street Letter

MONDAY, 10 JULY 2000 


Today:  Advice To Young Men

In Today's Daily Reckoning:

*** I'm driving up from Virginia to New York, spending the 
night in an Econo-Lodge on the outskirts of Trenton - where I 
get a view of the back of a storage shed from my room. I've 
got to be in Rye, NY, before 11 am. So, this has to be very 

*** Wall Street is getting its metaphors mixed up. The big 
news on Friday was that the employment numbers from the 
Bureau of 'much' Labored Statistics was just what the street 

*** The number of new jobs - 11,000 - has gone down. It's a 
dubious number...because the census workers were released in 
the same period. But it was the perfect number for those who 
believe in the "soft landing" idea. 

*** Greenspan, you will recall, is trying to cool the economy 
with rate hikes. A soft landing is what you get when the cool 
air emanating from the Fed gently coddles the overheated 
bubble towards the ground. (see: A Synthetic Soft Landing?

*** Wall Street likes the 'soft landing' concept. It allows 
them to forget about any further rate increases...or the kind 
of 'hard landing' produced by a crash, or recession. But the 
shills and pollyannas just can't leave well enough alone. As 
soon as it looks as though the bubble economy might be losing 
altitude, they turn up the fuel jets. 

*** Thus, the Dow rose 154 points on Friday. The Nasdaq rose 
62, bringing it to 4023. It's still a long way from the peak 
of March 10th - 5048. But it doesn't have that much farther 
to go in order to match the June 21st rally top of 4068. 

*** Today's Reuters article tells us that despite all the 
soft landing talk, the market "is finally cleared for a 
takeoff." With all this confusion at the aerodrome, my advice 
to you is to keep your feet on the ground until it is over.

*** The week brought a 1.8% increase in the Dow and a 1.44% 
increase in the Nasdaq. The Dow is selling at a little over 
20 times earnings. The Nasdaq...well...why mention it?

*** The week produced twice as many advancing stocks as 
declining ones and twice as many new highs as new lows.

*** It is certainly hazy, hot and humid here in NJ. And the 
market does appear to be in a summer rally. How 
high...we'll just wait to see. 

*** Platinum rose another $5.80. And an article in Barron's 
tells us that gold is as big a bargain today as it was in the 
early 70s when it was priced at $35.

*** "The collapse of the most expensive growth stocks in the 
NASDAQ may not be the start of a global bear market," 
suggests Mard Faber "but it is a message from the gods to 
reduce risk, and to be stingier about the price one is 
willing to pay for growth." Faber offers five Asian stocks 
worthy of such stingy affection... (see: Value Vindication in 

*** A study done by MSNSBC of IPOs shows that it was very 
hard for an ordinary investor to make money last year. 
Goldman's did 51 IPOs, for example, which - if purchased at 
the open - would leave you down 15% on the group. Goldman's 
institutional clients, however, getting their shares at pre-
IPO prices came out of the study with a 90% gain. But other 
institutional clients didn't do as well. Overall, the study 
showed that all IPO buyers lost money.

*** A WSJ story notes that corporate debt as a percent of GDP 
is at its highest level ever. And defaults are rising. $9.4 
billion of junk bonds defaulted in the 2nd quarter - more 
than the total ($8 billion) that were issued. 17% of the 
junks are in "distress," with the default running at 5.58% 
annualized. Moody's expects it to rise to a default rate of 

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Freedom's just another word 
for nothing left to lose.
But nothing, ain't worth nothing, honey
if you ain't free.

Janis Joplin, 
performing "Bobby McGee"

So many paradoxes; so little time.

I landed at Dulles Airport Friday afternoon and drove down to 
the little town of Lovingston, VA, south of Charlottesville. 
This is a beautiful area of the country, with many imposing 
and gracious farms on the rolling hills...and quite a few 
shacks and shanties in the gullies. 

Rural poverty is picturesque in Europe, where you find 
ancient stone buildings in pretty much the same shape they've 
been for centuries. But it is depressing in America. People 
live in trailers, or dilapidated wooden houses, surrounded by 
the cheap junk of the machine age - old cars, broken down 
tractors and farm equipment, rusted out refrigerators and 
washing machines... everything that won't burn. 

The occasion of my visit was the wedding of my nephew, who 
was married on Saturday. He married his high school 
sweetheart in a touching ceremony presided over by my 
brother-in-law, a Baptist minister of great charm and wit. 

Reverend Campbell has performed hundreds of weddings in the 
quarter of a century he's been preaching. The makers of 
Kleenex have surely gotten a boost over the years - thanks to 
the paradoxical sentiments these marriages inspire. People 
are so happy, they cry. But it is rare for the eyes of Rev. 
Campbell himself to redden and moisten as they did on 

Marriage makes no sense, of course. It is contrary to the 
spirit of liberty we men profess to adore. A man, entering 
the holy state of matrimony, makes commitments that, 
statistically, only half will honor. Beneath the statistics, 
the pledge to 'love and to cherish...forsaking all 
others...until death' is a guarantee that is usually 
outlasted by a refrigerator or the drive train on a 

And what sense does it make, anyway? These days, a man does 
not have to offer to marry a woman to have his way with her. 
It is cheaper to eat in restaurants and use cleaning services 
than to take on the expense of a traditional wife. And why 
not keep his options open?

He finds his bride irresistible at 21, but will she still be 
irresistible at 41 or 51? Or will another 21-year-old be the 
woman of his dreams? Mistresses may be tolerated in France, 
but not in Southern Virgina.

Besides, an ambitious young man can expect his purchasing 
power to rise over time. As he ages and makes more money - 
there should be more women available to him. Whether he 
chooses to rent by the hour, or to marry, his field of choice 
will probably increase.

Not only that, as he matures a young man's ideas may change 
too. He may want a redhead in his 20s...but a brunette may be 
more to his liking in his 30s. And from a practical point of 
view, the type of woman he will want will change with the 
life he chooses for himself. One woman may be well suited to 
the life of a farm wife out on the great plains, for example, 
but completely out of place as the wife of the U.S. 
ambassador to the court of St. James.

And yet, Mark Campbell, with no gun to his head, gave up his 
freedom on Saturday. With a smile on his lips and a look of 
deep satisfaction on his face, he did an apparently 
irrational act. He forged his own chains...shackled his own 
leg... and if you believe his solemn pledge, threw away the 

Was Mark, like the poor rabbit I ran over last week, betrayed 
by his own instincts? 

I was puzzling over this Saturday morning at the Lovingston 
Caf‚. In a moment of Deep Contemplation, I felt as though I 
had hit upon a New Dialectic that would explain everything... 
from the course of western civilization to... the kiss.

Alas, I was interrupted.

"Everything all right here?" asked the helpful waitress in 
the soft country drawl of Nelson County, VA.

"Yes. I'm fine."

Then, back to my cogitations...and scribbling.

But Lovingston is not Paris, where the waiters serve you a 
cup of coffee and leave you alone for hours. 

Perhaps that is why the French have produced such ponderous 
and impenetrable works of philosophy and literature - they 
have been able to work without interruption!

"Can I get you anything else?" she inquired after a moment 
had passed. She seemed genuinely concerned for my welfare, as 
if she thought there must be something wrong with someone who 
had no visible source of distraction. 

So I tried to explain: "I'm just sitting here trying to 
unlock the deepest mysteries of life and explain the course 
of human history."

"Well," she said, handing me my bill, "I'll take that 
whenever you're ready."

More on life's deepest mysteries tomorrow,

Bill Bonner

P.S. This from my friend Jack Forde:

"[S]cientists at University College London now have more
concrete proof of whether or not it's the real thing - brain 
scans. They have shown that the first flushes of true love 
produce visible changes in the brains of people that can be 
seen with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

"We looked at the activity in their brain produced by a
picture of the person they love," Semir Zeki, a professor of 
neurobiology, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"There are four small areas of the brain in which activity 
goes up and that increase correlates with their viewing of 
the picture of the person they are in love with."
About The Daily Reckoning:
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Bill Bonner, recognized internationally as a brilliant writer, entrepreneur
and publisher of The Fleet Street Letter, offers you his daily market
commentary absolutely FREE. For the first time, outsiders are getting a peek into his powerful and profitable investment insights. Bill's practical contrarian advice empowers even average investors to protect their hard-earned wealth and achieve amazing gains.

Bonner writes his email letter from Paris, France, each morning --
describing the wacky, wonderful world of investment, politics and everything remotely related. Irreverent. Sharp. Honest. Thoroughly, unabashedly contrarian. It's also among the fastest growing e-letter on the Internet.  It's a brand new service... but it has a distinguished history..

For nearly 62 year, The Fleet Street Letter, the oldest investment
advisory letter in the English language has consistently delivered
invaluable economic and political foresights to savvy investors. Current readers regularly enjoy impressive investment gains even as the market falters. Here's more from his online readers...

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Last modified: April 02, 2001

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