"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 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) closed up 6 points, or 0.43%.
  • The Dow Jones (DJINDICES:^DJI) closed up 36 points, or 0.28%.
  • The Nasdaq (NASDAQINDEX:^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.

Thanks for reading and for thinking. While you're here, and you need something truly meaningful to read instead of moment-to-moment market reports, check out the Motley Fool's brand new report on Bank of America. In it, our Foolish analysts give you a thorough detailing of the superbank's prospects, along with three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here for full access.


This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.