Further proof that this ain’t your daddy’s market anymore, baby!

It’s 5:30 a.m. this early morning, and though the U.S. market is yet to open, it’s clear that the financial world has changed with Merrill being bought by Bank of America, Lehman filing for bankruptcy just hours ago and AIG asking the fed for a bridge loan to avoid a ratings downgrade.

While there are lots of speculative stories swirling around regarding AIG being in talks with Warren Buffet, and people wondering if Bank of America may be a mighty giant when the dust clears with its recent acquisition of Merrill and its earlier purchase of Countrywide — I have a burning desire to TiVo the news footage of Lehman employees walking out of their building last night carrying cartons of all their belongings and telling reporters they’re stunned by the news.

It’s captivating.

On a human emotional level I certainly have sympathy for all employees who lose their jobs — but on a common sense level — I’m amazed at how dumbfounded all these finance “wizards” seem to be with the news.

I’m not talking about secretaries or file clerks — these are people who have been paid to crunch numbers every day for what was one of the Top 5 investment banks on Wall Street for many years.

In many cases. they had a good chunk of their capital tied-up in their company’s stock.

And if they lacked the ability — or fortitude — to crunch their own numbers and see the writing on the wall — that doesn’t bode too well for their number-crunching abilities.

The lesson for the average investor?

Simple.

Shorting is for stocks — don’t sell yourself short in terms of picking savvy investments.

If you take the time to roll up your sleeves, crunch your own numbers and stay informed of the market — you can do just as good at investing your own money — and in many cases, even better — than someone who wears a designer suit to a fancy firm on The Street.

Doing your own due diligence can pay-off. As I mentioned in last week’s column pertaining to all eyes being on Fannie & Freddie — I was instead looking at Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Having crunched my own numbers, I now know whether the recent news is a good time to buy, sell, or wait on a trade of Bank of America.

I won’t tell you my personal decision, as I believe each person needs to crunch their own numbers and know why they’re buying or selling their own stocks.

Sometimes your numbers may reveal the market is simply too volatile and your best bet is to be in cash — while other times you’ll see market turmoil that creates a momentary pull-back on a good investment and you pull the trigger.

I’ve said it before — and I’ll say it again — this is just further proof that it ain’t your daddy’s market anymore, baby!

Just remember: Don’t base any of your investment decisions on anything in my forum. Do you own due diligence, or at least enough research to pick the right professional to do it for you.

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