Sunday, December 2, 2012

Never time the market!

Every Wednesday morning I have the pleasure of appearing on local CBS affiliate Channel 47 in Fresno and reporting on the whys and wherefores of stock market volatility—essentially offering insight into the unknowable.

For example: Tuesday delivered the third largest single-day point decline for the Dow this year, my job Wednesday was to explain it. And while my ego forever conjures up its theories, I---being the humble bloke I be---nonetheless scan the opinions of the world's finest traders, analysts, economists and gurus before presenting the reason du jour to the Central California community. Today, as a result of intense deliberation, I offered up my great revelation, "all of the above". Which would be all of the below:
"Rumor that Bernanke will step-down in 2014."
"Spain's GDP lower than expected."
"Structural downturn heading into a multi-quarter decline".
"It's all about disappointing earnings".
"It's all about guidance".
"Worries over the "Fiscal Cliff"".
"Too much QE".
"Not enough QE".
"Normal profit taking".
"Market following commodities lower".
"Market selling off on dollar rally".
"The S&P bumping against the bottom range of its 100-day moving average".

I mean it has to be all, or at least some, of these, right? I mean it can't be that hard to know, in hindsight, what—on any given day—inspired to action a world of individuals who transact their affairs in pursuit of their own objectives, can it?

In Beware the King(s) (read it to get the full flavor of this message) I picked on Bill Gross for his long-term egobese prognostication, but the same goes for those of us (yes us) who would dare suggest that the reasons for Tuesday can be condensed onto a TV spot, a blog post, or a column in the Wall Street Journal.

And even if, by some magic, you got yesterday---in pro, or retro, spect---right (but how would you know?), don't think for a minute that the same sequence of events would produce the same market reaction on any other day. Who would have thought that on the day (yesterday) Apple, with all its successes, announces its foray into the mini-tablet market, that its stock would drop twenty bucks? The same news on June 1st could easily have shot the share price to an all-time high—at least that's what the excuse would have been.

My point? Never time the market!

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