Common Sense

Planting Seeds of Hope During Mideast Crisis

I got quite a response the other day when I criticized some on Wall Street for selling at the slightest sign of global strife.

I stressed then — as I do now — that "some" sell. Some panic, but not all. Not the smart money and not the really smart players.

My friend Jim Rogers dove into the markets shortly after the 1987 crash when everyone said the economy would crash. It didn't. We didn't. Most lost money. Jim made a lot of money. Ditto with Peter Lynch, the famous Fidelity investor, who was buying the very same week. And George Soros is a billionaire today because he was in when others were out and out when others were in.

Smart money does that: makes big bets. Today, some very big bets were made amidst some very big risks. Why, in the middle of a Middle East on fire, would deal-making be on fire on Wall Street?

Why would a group of investors plunk down more than 21 billion bucks for hospital operator HCA?

Why would Advanced Micro Devices ignore the panic selling in its own industry to pay more than $5 billion for the graphics chipmaker ATI Technologies?

Maybe because both acquirers are looking past the doom and gloom and seeing hope and, for them, profit.

Some sell in times like these. Others plant seeds. A lot of planting is going on amidst a lot of despair.

To most folks, that looks dumb. Not that the smart money folks seem to mind. It’s how they got to be smart in the first place.

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