Markets Can't Make Up Mind on Fiscal Cliff

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"Stocks rise on hopes of US budget deal." So reads a headline from the markets section of the Financial Times. Simultaneously running on the homepage of the same newspaper is the headline, "Boehner downbeat on cliff talks."  Call me crazy, but I see a disconnect.

Get real
Financial Times, admittedly my favorite financial news daily, isn't lying: Markets in the U.S., and even in Europe, did close up today:

  • The S&P 500  (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) closed up 6 points, or 0.43%.
  • The Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI  ) closed up 36 points, or 0.28%.
  • The Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC  ) closed up 20 points, or 0.68%.
  • Britain's FTSE closed up 67 points, or 1.15%.
  • Germany's DAX closed up 57%, or 0.78%.

So, okay, markets are up; but here's what Speaker of the House John Boehner had to say regarding the current state of talks surrounding the much-discussed fiscal cliff:

I'm disappointed in where we are. I'm disappointed in what's happened.

As a kicker, he reportedly told Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that, "Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts."

Don't worry, be happy
Politics aside (is that even possible right now?), and ignoring, for a moment, which side needs to get real about what, it's your Foolish columnist's considered opinion that the markets, and our politicians, don't know which way is up right now, and won't for many more weeks, at least. The fiscal cliff debate will go down to the wire, as related things have done for the past two years. That's okay, because the mantra of the Motley Fool is, "You're in it for the long term."

So be happy for the moment that markets are up, but don't be distressed when they're down tomorrow. In fact, don't even look at the indices tomorrow. Read a good novel, instead.

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