Opinion

Heart stopping stock markets



Last month, I went for a cardiac checkup. I lay on the couch with my eyes glued to the display as surround-sound speakers pumped out the sound of my blood gurgling through the valve.

The experience parallels my fixation with the stock market over the last few weeks. I have been glued to the screen on my desk watching the blood draining in and out of the world's markets.

Following the recent IPO of Interregnum, my fascination with our stock (Epic code: ITR) led to many a palpitation as it lurched around between £2.65 and 95p in less than four weeks.

Before the crash I was lucky enough to spend a pleasant evening at St. James Palace as a guest of our bank. In a scene reminiscent of Titanic we dined amid gilded plaster, spectacular tableware, evening dresses and dinner jackets - blissfully unaware of the iceberg the markets were about to hit.

Mind you, unlike the iceberg that sank the Titanic, some people saw it coming.

A recent article in US investment magazine Barrons, titled 'Burn Rate', rated every company on Nasdaq according to how soon it would run out of cash. The chilling conclusion was that a very large percentage would need to raise new money, be bought, or go out of business within three months!

But rumours of the demise of the new economy are greatly exaggerated - the old economy is moving to make it its own.

Despite my advancing years I was one of the youngest attendees at the breakfast to launch thesite.com, held at London's top nightclub - Home.

As the Prime Minister extolled the virtues of this cool advice website for teenagers I realised how the old and the new are converging. In the gloom of the room I picked out several faces who had been at St James's earlier in the month.

Men and women whom I had assumed were locked in a gilded past were there in force.

Who knows, perhaps the next time I visit the doctor there will be two tickers there - mine and the stock markets'.

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This was first published in May 2000

 

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