Clubber Lang: My prediction?
Interviewer: Yes, your prediction.
Clubber Lang (swivels to glower into the camera): Pain.
With markets looking more than a little punch-drunk, Macro Man cannot help but think in pugilistic terms this morning. When he saw the SPX tape yesterday evening and the underlying cause of the weakness, he couldn't help but think of one of his favourite film quotes of all time, repeated above. While Rocky ultimately triumphed over Clubber towards the end of the film, it wasn't before he endured a helluva beating (and a subsequent training regime to improve his fundamental fitness) first.
The list of recipients of Clubber Lang-style beatings seems to grow by the day. Indeed, recent news is reminiscent of an actual, historical boxing match- the second bout between Muhammad
Ali and Sonny Liston. As all afficionados of the sweet science know, Ali felled Liston with a single, quick punch in the first round.
Some commentators suggested malfeasance- that Liston was in hock to the mafia and threw the fight to finance his debts. Stop-action replay suggests that the so-called 'phantom punch' did land, though of course there is no way of knowing whether it was of sufficient force to truly dispatch Liston so quickly.
Regardless, the speed of the knockout reminds Macro Man of American Home Mortgage. Consider the swiftness of its demise:
* On June 28, it issued a profit warning
* On July 19, the company refused to comment on unusual market activity in its common stock
* On July 27, it announced that its dividend, scheduled for payment yesterday, had been suspended.
* And yesterday, July 31, the company announced that it had run out of both cash and borrowing facilities. The result, predictably, was a Sonny-Liston style crash to the canvas and the immediate filing of a class-action lawsuit.