The markets are relieved that Commander Greenspan has decided to stay another term
The Iraq war is over, or at least, we are in those last few minutes before the whistle blows when the winning side just kicks about and the losers wait miserably for the end. In anticipation of the peace dividend, and in an endorsement of the very latest journalistic style, this seasoned market reporter is embedded with a formidable division of stockbrokers. We are ready for action, to send hourly updates or real live footage of the market rebound as and when it occurs.
Day One. Our anchormen and women have their facts and figures ready. Historic highs and lows, points of support and resistance, moving averages over any period you care to mention. We have models, graphs, computer imaging and archive material all lined up. We have all been trained in technical, fundamental and anecdotal analysis, and I can tell you we keep those gas masks handy.
Before the Gulf adventure started, we were all assured by the military spokesman at the restricted-access White House briefings that the only thing holding the world economy back from a convincing rebound was the military engagement. 'The past is behind us,' he said. Once that was out of the way (and predictions of 'Home by Easter' were bang on target) we should stand by for action.
Day Two. Our status alert turned from orange to red and our first live contact with the market showed we were in the right place. Good Friday offered a taste of what is to come. We avoided any blue-on-blue casualties. It was wild. The Dow rose, what?, 10 points? We hear that other markets also saw action, with rapid fire inflows into retail funds for the first time in several months, although projections of an implosion of negative sentiment proved a bit wide of the mark.
To be honest, we were expecting a rougher reception than this. Where were the demonic cohorts of pessimists and doubters all the commentators had warned of? They just seem to have melted away. Of course, no one is pretending this is going to be easy. It is hot, dirty and frightening here at the frontline. But someone must record history, and who better than a bunch of former investment bankers?
Day Eight. We haven't been able to broadcast for a few days for the storm of bad numbers about. US jobless numbers are up. Consumer spending is weak. Growth forecasts have been revised downwards. Poor corporate results season. Soggy currency (we got out-manoeuvred by the euro). Can't say more as our hosts have requisitioned our satphones. We suspect they are trying to bury bad news.
Day Nine. I want to be positive but the fact is this unit badly needs reinforcements. Luckily, there are plenty of redundancies in the pipeline (oops, can't mention that, as it would give away our position on oil).
Our boys' and girls' job was to take the new high ground and hold it until they bring up the heavy guns of the big investors. That sounds easier than it is, as we have been under sporadic fire from short selling snipers.
Day 10. I'm off the frontline, back at our forward base. Our CIC has called in the mother of all air strikes. Thunder and Awe! Commander Greenspan is to remain in office for another term. Are we relieved! For just a tiny moment, I was beginning to think I would never shed my flakjacket. The B52s have bulls painted on their noses.
Now, what's my slug for the next report? 'Flying High!', 'The No's have It!', or, 'Being led by the nose!'.
£300bn of liabilities
View from the front row
Transfer from occupational scheme
Appointed by FCA and PSR boards