03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Stock Market: A (Psycho)Analysis

Stanley Bing is a columnist for FORTUNE Magazine and may also be read on a daily basis at

If the stock market was a person, what kind of person would it be?

I consider this issue this morning because of the way it behaved yesterday. First it was elated by Warren Buffett's offer to back up bond insurers. I was there with the most gaga of the bunch. Later on, as the NY Times reports, the market got queasy about the fact that getting bailed out of their mess might cost the bond insurance guys a premium, and that Mr. Buffett would benefit by taking that premium, and that wow, this wasn't the modern equivalent of Mother Theresa helping the poor of Bombay, it was just Berkshire Hathaway making the most of a bad situation, which is what they do. And down the market went.

This got me to thinking, and from thinking to musing, and from musing to dreaming, and when I woke up a few minutes ago that question was sauntering around in my head: If the stock market was a person, what kind of person would it be?

Here's my view. If the stock market was a person, it would be:

* Rich: There's a lot of money in the stock market. Having all that money doesn't really make it any happier, though.
* Nervous: In fact, being so wealthy and privileged makes it incredibly anxious. If peace of mind rests in the feeling that one has nothing to lose, the Market is the exact opposite. It has everything to lose, first and foremost in its anxious, monkey mind...

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