Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Trader

Any Edgar Allen Poe fans out there? Thanks to The Big Picture and Macro-Man.

Late one morning one December in a year we’ll all remember,
Writing Christmas poems had turned into quite a chore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my office door.
“Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my office door-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Open wide I flung the entry, stood there like an ancient sentry,
In there stepped a haggard trader who’d been up since half past four.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, walked in from the trading floor-
Stood next to a bust of Soros on a shelf well past the door-
Stood, and sighed, and nothing more.

Then this battered soul beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance he wore,
“Though thy P/L has cratered, you’ll get better soon or later,
Ghastly grim and somber trader wandering from the trading floor-
Tell me what thy problem is found upon the trading floor!”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

As he stood there slightly smirking, doubts I’d long felt vaguely lurking
My subconscience let emerge and push their way out to the fore.
“Though our P/L’s been stinking and our share price swiftly sinking
Surely I’m right to be thinking that the worst is in Q4?
When will we return to normal, back the way it was before?”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

“Come now, fellow,” I cried, shaken, “surely thou art quite mistaken!
There is sovereign wealth fund buying risky assets soon in store.
Banks will soon enough start lending, start consumers back off spending
Bring a swift and tidy ending to our all feeling quite poor.
Don’t you think that GDP growth soon enough will exceed four?”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

Was he simply trying to scare me, overwhelm me, or just dare me
To get out of my positions I’d put on the year before?
Though they trade at distressed prices, my sangfroid is cold as ice, as
I have made it through the crisis marking them at eighty four.
“Don’t you think if I hang on I’ll find a bid at eighty-four?”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

My portfolio’s diverse, moving on from bad to worse.
Managing a long-stock book had proven to be a chore.
As I glanced back at my screen I took on a pallid sheen
As the S&P careened below its key supportive floor.
“Will the Nikkei ever rally back towards where it was in ’94?”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “Satan’s thy master, he hath sent me to disaster
Tell me, who hath fallen faster, me or hedge funds shuttering their doors,
Causing panic on the streets of London, Moscow, and Lahore?”
Quoth the trader, “Nevermore.”

As the floor began to darken, a footstep I faintly hearkened,
Followed swiftly by another rapping beat against my office door.
In stepped an HR director, leering like Hannibal Lecter
‘Twas not my place to correct her as she told us what’s in store.
Then she escorted the trader by the elbow out and off the trading floor.
I saw him again- nevermore!

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