Last quarter will be smiles better

The run-up to Christmas will be a season of good cheer, according to FinanceAsia readers.

Back in 1993, Peter Cunnah, the tartan-trousered lead singer of D:Ream, told British clubbers that: “Things can only get better.” It was optimistic and uplifting, but wrong -- the group didn’t have another number one hit and the last track that Cunnah lent his vocals to peaked at 43 in the Irish charts. In 2003.

Today, our readers are saying similar upbeat things about the final quarter of 2010. Well, kind of. We asked them to pick a smiley face that best suited their outlook for the last three months of the year, and most of them were inclined to be : ) or : | and a few grumpy voters were : (. (There are no teenagers in the FinanceAsia office so no further smileys were offered -- or could be thought of.)

Like Cunnah, our readers have so far proven themselves mediocre at seeing the future, which is of course hardly surprising.

In January, we asked them to guess which of the region’s biggest stockmarkets would perform best. They chose China by a country mile, which was an almost perfectly wrong call — stocks in Shanghai started to fall within days and are down more than 20% so far this year.

(The correct answer was Thailand, which has gained about as much as Shanghai has lost. It got two votes from our readers.)

In response to our question about the fourth quarter, 45% were smiley, 39% were straight-faced and just 16% were grumpy. That is reason to be cheerful, to be sure, but one of our sources sounds a word of caution: “Optimists in this market are just people with a lack of imagination.”

Remember, things can always get worse.

Photo provided by AFP.

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