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Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on FOX | Cashin' In
Bulls & Bears
This past week's "Bulls & Bears":
• Gary B. Smith, RealMoney.com columnist
• Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research
• Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Investing editor
• Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president
• Bob Olstein, the Olstein Funds president
• Dan Senor, FOX News contributor and former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq
Iraq moved closer to democracy this past weekend. And these small steps are beginning to add up to big progress in that nation.
Does Wall Street need democracy to succeed in Iraq?
Tobin Smith: YES! Democracy must succeed in Iraq; otherwise we have squandered billions of dollars. Remember you also have to add in the extreme run up in oil prices. Iraq is only pumping 2 million barrels a day of crude oil. It should be pumping 5 million. This doesn’t have to be perfect but Wall Street needs to see results to make sure we’re not just flushing this money down the toilet.
Dan Senor: The cumulative effect of all these big events (January election, Saddam trial, referendum) are the key to tell us if Iraq is working or not. Eight million Iraqis risked their lives in last January’s election for democracy. It was the first indication that they were truly involved in their own political process. This is where we need to keep our focus.
Bob Olstein: We need democracy to succeed in Iraq because it will set the mood for the public to consider buying stocks again. There is a lot of negative news out there now…especially surrounding Iraq. Some good news will create positive psychology and get the stock market going.
Gary B. Smith: This is very important for our country and for Iraq. But as for Wall Street, it’s in the rear view mirror. It’s not even on the radar screens of big money managers. Yes, there will probably be a bump in market if all goes well, but if things do not go well, will there be a sell off? I don’t think so
Pat Dorsey: I hate to do it, but I have to totally agree with Gary B. The market is much more concerned with inflation and interest rates. Democracy in Iraq is a non-event for the market because it doesn't get built in a day. And in any case, we'd be just as happy with a nominally democratic government run by someone on our “side”. Look at Egypt’s President Hosni Muarak who has run that country with an iron fist for decades, and no one says anything since he plays relatively nice. Whatever party is in charge—Republican or Democrat—prefers a government that's in our camp to one that's truly democratic.
Scott Bleier: The expectation of the American public is not clear. We don’t know what it will take for us to be victorious. Apparently it is going to take a constitution, government, and the joining of all the sectarian forces together. But this may or may not happen and the stock market will be on the defensive if things look bad.
Bird Flu and Stocks
A deadly incurable bird flu could claim millions of lives. And some say it might be reality this year. But is Wall Street worried? Ever since the alarm was sounded in big way two weeks ago, stocks have gotten hammered.
Pat Dorsey: Right now I don’t think Wall Street is too worried. However, if it causes a few deaths in United States, things could get awfully ugly awfully quick.