As I was driving past my local hospital this morning I reflected on the signage for the hospital. Those travelling to a hospital are often stressed, perhaps due to anxiety about an appointment or visiting a relative. There may be other reasons too, perhaps being rushed to A&E or maternity. In short the sign that effectively says “there is a hospital here” is accurate but missing the point that because there is a hospital here, people in the vicinity, on the way to or from it, may be in a heightened state of anxiety. As a consequence they may not be as focused on their driving, parking or walking as much as they normally would be. The sign then becomes a warning to others in the vicinity to also take more care as a result. I know that as many of you work in a hospital, that this will be all too familiar and indeed the trip to your place of work may also be fairly stressful.
Today is simply another day, but today’s context is different from a couple of weeks ago. Today there is further cleaning up of damage, there is some reflection on how we reached this point as a society. The stockmarkets around the world remain highly volatile and nervous, we have deep seated economic problems. The world is not as it “should be”. It would be rather helpful if the stockmarket came with helpful signage – or indeed our society. So we look for other signs, which is really what investors are currently attempting to see. There will be further volatility, there are no certainties, sadly that is part of life. However, we are not impotently standing by, but continuously reviewing the situation and acting with caution and I am doing my best to protect clients from making poor decisions. Hindsight is a gift only to those that live in the past, so as the media noise rumbles on, remember that to date nobody has successfully predicted the future consistently. The market is essentially a place where different (perhaps opposing) views are given shape in the form of a price, not value. So as you listen, read or watch reporters attempt to make sense of what is going on, remember the Hospital sign.
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