There is a LOT of optimism in the markets currently. But why shouldn’t there be? Speaking at Davos, the head of world’s largest hedge fund says “If You’re Holding Cash, You’re Going to Feel Pretty Stupid”.
As I noted this past weekend, 2017 was a year for the record books. Not surprisingly, the strong advance fostered a surge in investor optimism which pushed allocations to equities to the second highest level on record.
Market crashes are an “emotionally” driven imbalance in supply and demand. You will commonly hear that “for every buyer, there must be a seller.” This is absolutely true. The issue becomes at “what price.” What moves prices up and down, in a normal market environment, is the price level at which a buyer and seller complete a transaction.
The current market advance both looks, and feels, like the last leg of a market “melt up” as we previously witnessed at the end of 1999. How long it can last is anyone’s guess. However, importantly, it should be remembered that all good things do come to an end.
While I remain long and invested in the markets on behalf of my clients, I focus and write about the significant risks that are currently present. I am fully aware a laissez-faire attitude towards these risks is ultimately likely to destroy large portions of my clients hard-earned, and irreplaceable, investment capital.
The Congressional Republicans rolled out an ambitious tax cut proposal last week promising a surge in economic growth, wages and employment without blowing out the deficit. Will that really be the outcome?
Over a long enough period, I agree, you will make money. But, simply making money is not the point of investing. We invest to ensure our current “hard-earned savings” adjust over time to provide the same purchasing power parity in the future. If we “lose” capital along the way, we extend the time horizon required to reach our goals.
This morning, as I was catching up on my reading, I stumbled onto this gem from Business Insider of an interview with the founder of Robinhood, a mobile app to let individuals trade stocks with no commissions.
There is an increasing amount of commentary which suggests this time is different. Active management of portfolios is no longer needed, as Central Banks continue to be supportive of the markets, so join in on the “passive indexing” sweeping the country.
Several years ago, I began writing an annual update discussing Dalbar’s Quantitative Analysis Of Investor Behavior study. The study showed just how poorly investors perform relative to market benchmarks over time and the reasons for that underperformance.