I Don’t Know Why I Bothered Coming Back to This Stock Market

July 16th, 2008 ·



Perhaps it was a blessed event that my laptop conked out somewhere between Vienna and Dubai: I was unable to witness the lion’s share of the carnage that occurred in the U.S. stock market.

Since I had no computer of my own, I relied on the sterile business center of the Radisson Dubai Creek hotel for what little trading I did.

As you may know, the Runaway Trader blew about $3000 to visit this sunny and hot emirate in the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Did I say hot? Try 105 or 110 in the sun. No sense talking about shady temperatures since there are none. My goal, of course, is to pay for my trip “as I travel” but this market has rendered that attractive possibility a figment of Ben Bernanke’s imagination. That’s Charlie boy on the above visiting the world’s third largest mosque (in Abu Dhabi), Sheikh Zayed bin sultan Al Nahyan Mosque (and yes, still under construction).

As I reported earlier, I made about $1000 on a single trade of First Solar, but was blanked from making a nickel more.

About Dubai

Would I return to Dubai? Probably not. As I noted in an earlier post, Dubai is a city under construction with a majority of the bricks, mortar and steel dedicated to erecting a jungle of high-rise office buildings and condos. Admittedly, some of these new buildings are truly magnificent. Since 80% of Dubai’s population are emigrates, you’d think 79% of them were steelworkers and construction toughs.There’s plenty of beach, but Hawaii has more and better. Dining? Try Manhattan. Shopping? Well, if you’re into that sort of thing there’s the Mall of America here in my backyard. Free range camels? Well, I guess Dubai wins that prize.

You get the picture.

Moreover, you won’t see many houses in Dubai, unless you count the palaces owned and occupied by the ruling families, the likes of Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum whose picture is on outdoor boards and huge banners everywhere. Three-story townhouses are about the smallest it gets in Dubai. The hoi polloi competes for an apartment in one the many apartment buildings above street-level shops. (Dave, one of the guides on my city tour, told me he pays 700 dirham, about $200 a month for a bed in an apartment he shares with seven other guys. I guess that puts a one- or two-bedroom place at $1400 a month).

Trading on the Run

Stock trading in Dubai was more difficult than I expected. First, my lap top got fried, so I had to use the hotel’s Internet facility. That means, the U.S. pre-market opened at 4 p.m. and the after-market (sometimes a good time to lay down a bet) closes at 4 a.m. Makes it tough for serious sightseeing. I would have been much better off buying and selling those miniature  brass “magic lamps” on eBay.

Worse, while the hotel had CNBC on the tube, it was largely a British version, with cheeky Erin Burnett, for example, chatting away while FTSE stock quotes crawled across the screen.

But, the worst, of course, was the market itself. I frankly won’t know what to make of this market until it capitulates by splitting a vein and dropping, like, 500 points in one session. I suspect it will be all up from there.

On The Road

Where to next? Well, I’m not sure. Maybe there’s still time to do the trek to Everest basecamp. Or maybe something simple like the Tongass National Park in Alaska or the Galapagos.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to make some money, somehow in this market. I’ll let you know what’s up my sleeve as soon as I can figure it out. If you’re into photos, I’ll post some Dubai stuff this week on my RunawayTrader Flickr site.

 Charlie, the Runaway Trader, at home at last but ready for more


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