FX, Palindrome, May 19

May 13, 2014


“The key issue facing investors is whether the FX markets are at a turning point. Even if the ECB is going to do something, it is not clear precisely what it is going to do.” Source: BBH CurrencyView: “Drivers for the Week Ahead,” May 12, 2014, Brown Brothers, Harriman.

My friend Jason Trennert (Strategas) and I will open the Global Interdependence Center (GIC) conference on Monday, May 19, 2014, at the New York Athletic Club. The four sessions will focus on foreign exchange markets, currency exchange ratios, volatilities and central bank policies and their effects on the FX markets. Intertwined in that discussion will be the issues of how to utilize exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that deal in worldwide markets and how to use hedging devices to deal with exposure to volatile (or not so volatile) currencies.

Information is available on the GIC website. The conference is filling up and should be an interesting event. Registration is still open for those who wish to attend and haven’t signed up.

Jason and I share other things besides support for the GIC and membership in it. We are both palindromes, as indicated by our last names. Trennert and Kotok spell backwards and forwards identically.

For those who are curious about this obscure aspect of the English language, the rest of this commentary may be of interest. If on the other hand your interest is limited to the foreign exchange markets, stock markets of the world, the ETF sector and investments generally, then ignore the remainder of this commentary and just join us at GIC’s May 19 conference.

The word palindrome has Greek roots. It means “running back again.” It essentially describes words or phrases that spell the same in either direction. Punctuation is ignored. Simple palindromes are single words like Trennert, Kotok, mom, dad, level, Otto and toot. Those are the basic building blocks of palindromes.

The most original palindrome we can think of was spoken by the first man, in the Book of Genesis. He said, “Madam I’m Adam.” Eve, a palindrome herself, was not sure she wanted him to know her real name, so she replied, “Sir, I’m Iris.” Thus began the first palindromic love affair, from which we all originated.

Palindromes have great places in history. For example, “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.” This is an epigrammatic summary of a historical event from the era of Teddy R. Roosevelt, who liked palindromes.

There are other historical palindromes whose origins may be suspect. “Able was I ere I saw Elba” has been attributed to Napoleon. It often comes up in conversations about palindromes, but there is something fishy about the attribution. Since Emperor Napoleon was a Frenchman, it is unlikely that he hatched a palindrome in English to describe his circumstances when he was exiled to the Island of Elba. We do not know the real provenance of that palindrome.

There are lots of fun palindromes. Here is one: “Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog.” Another is, “Ana, nab a banana.” Food turns up a lot in palindromes. Look around in the store and find some “snack cans” or fix up your appearance with “leg gel.” You can be “drawn inward” or sit on a “worm row.” There are “sewer ewes,” and one can run into “papaya pap,” seek a “tipi pit” or wear a “tahini hat.”

It was once remarked, “Now sir, a war is never even, sir, a war is won.” Maybe that is one for Washington or Moscow. We’re about to stop, but not without one of my favorites: “Straw? No! Too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.” That is palindromic genius!

I hope this word play was enjoyable. See you at the New York Athletic Club on the morning of May 19, 2014, to discuss foreign currency, ETFs, and markets in a very intense half-day conference. Take a look at the program. You will see “so many dynamos.”


The preceding has been reposted with permission of the author. The original commentary is available at http://www.cumber.com/commentary.aspx?file=051314.asp.

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