Nothing changes more than the stock market. It rises and falls on whims and whispers. It touches everyone’s lives.

Nothing changes more than the stock market. It rises and falls on whims and whispers. It touches everyone’s lives.


To say it is unpredictable is like saying weather changes. It bumps along and everything it touches it changes. Rainfall affects corn, corn affects shipping, shipping affects oil.


The stock market goes viral every day and analysts struggle to seek words to describe why the market does what it does.


Buzz words and clichés abound.


“Sellers outnumbered buyers.” Really? Is that even possible? If there are more sellers than buyers doesn’t that mean there will be a whole pile of stocks left unsold?


“Consumer confidence” is a key phrase in mercurial 2011. As in this analysis: “Consumers are still worried about a return to a full-blown recession and the market is down because of a lack of consumer confidence.”


If confidence is so important to a rising market, I suggest we get the word out. Call your Uncle Harry in Duluth and tell him to act more confidently. He should indulge himself and eat out. Even buy dessert. He should follow that up with a serving of coffee, fresh from Brazil. Later, he should buy a cigar.


He should regale his friends with the wonders of the market.


“How about that S&P?”


“Bonds are back, for sure.” And, “You can’t go wrong with a pokey filled with gold.”


The Street hears things. Maybe if all our uncles start strutting around as if they just inherited an annuity, then the market would soar again.


That is, if the jobs report is up or the deficit is down. If both, we’re talking a return of the Roaring Twenties.


Other buzz words to live by are to have a “diversified portfolio.” I do: It has many losers from a great variety of categories.


“Be in it to win it.” Don’t pull out of the market just because your portfolio has become Monopoly money.


Markets come back, if you wait long enough, like 20 years. Ask buy-and-hold Warren Buffett. Here is a quote from one of the world’s richest men:


“Americans are in a cycle of fear which leads to people not wanting to spend and not wanting to make investments, and that leads to more fear. We'll break out of it. It takes time.”


I guess I could wait if I were worth tens of billions of dollars, but when my portfolio is on life support, I get a bit anxious.


See, it all comes back to consumer confidence.


Peter Costa is a columnist for GateHouse Media. His latest collection of humor columns, “Outrageous CostaLiving,” is available at amazon.com