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Message of the Markets

Nov. 9 newsletter

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"The Tri-Lateral Commission, The Illuminati and other Conspiracies"

Hey, how come in the days leading up to the election, oil prices began to plunge and have continued to decline in the week since George W. Bush won re-election?

Maybe all of a sudden there's just plenty of oil sloshing around the globe. Maybe China, India, the U.S. and Japan are slowing their rates of growth and by extension reducing their demand for energy products.

But here's a piece of speculation I heard this morning, and it was, indeed, only conjecture. But what if the major oil producing countries of the world were trying to influence the outcome of the election by "arranging" various supply disruptions in the oil price in the hope that high oil, gas and heating oil prices would anger the American electorate so that they would throw W. from the White House.

My sophisticated investor friend, with whom I dined this morning, is no fan of conspiracy theories, but thought it an interesting concept.

Think about all the unexpected problems in the last several months... Venezuela erupts into political turmoil over Hugo Chavez's presidency. Chavez, no friend to the U.S. creates a political climate in which oil supplies become questionable from the biggest exporters around.

Russia forces its biggest oil company, Yukos, to the brink of bankruptcy in a tax dispute, threatening Russian supplies on the world market. Nigerians strike over long-simmering disputes with the government. China stockpiled oil at an aggressive pace, even beyond the levels currently demanded by their rapidly growing economy. Even Norway oil workers enter the fray. Terror acts in Iraq and Saudia Arabia would not be unexpected but would certainly be designed to hurt the U.S. as much as the places of origin.

Again, this is all conjecture, but could oil have peaked now that higher oil prices did little to unseat George W. Bush? And more important, could they be going meaningfully lower now that the world has to deal with George W. Bush for another four years?

*To be fair, a left-leaning investor that I know, months ago, made the exact opposite observation suggesting that the Bush Administration wanted oil prices high to help the states that would help him and hurt the states he was already sure to lose. But that's the whole fun of conspiracy theories, you can find one for all occasions!

**One additional note, there are many who also point out that Yasser Arafat's presumed and imminent passing from the world stage, may lead to a greater opportunity to secure a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and while not directly related to oil prices, could lead to greater stability in in the Arab world a greater standing for the U.S.
should it actively engage in that peace-making process.


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