Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Doom and Gloom Sells Much Better Than Lights at Ends of Tunnels!

I'm letting you off very easy this week. That is, no lengthy update. That is, my bride and I are taking a holiday and I'm leaving the computer behind for three whole days. Umm... an iPad doesn't count as a computer, does it?

So, you've heard from me that the likelihood of recession in 2016 is very low. That market breadth is presently very strong and, thus, very bullish. That we're beginning to see a little business investment going on. That the labor market looks good, possibly even a little tight. That the short-term technicals are suspect (good chance of a healthy near-term pullback). That seasonality is strong (March and April have the best historical average 2-month performance). That there's ample bearishness (lots of people are either short or are entirely on the sidelines) out there to ultimately support higher prices going forward. That the Fed has no interest in upsetting the applecart. That the European Central Bank is going to do whatever it takes to, essentially, inflate stock prices. That commodity production is being cut right and left (although major gluts persist). That valuations are looking rich (getting a bit extended), but probably okay if rates stay low and, particularly, if businesses will get busy and invest---and, thus, make strides in productivity.

So when we square the above, we can feel fairly okay about the market going forward.

Ah, but then there's the potential for Britain to leave the European Union (we'll know June 23rd). There's the coming U.S. general election (my goodness!!)!! There's China, there's Greece, there's Italian banks, there's, well, there's a lot of stuff that can easily get in the market's way this year. Plus there's me telling you from the get-go that the only thing I'm certain of with regard to 2016 is that it'll be a doozy of a volatile year.

And then there's all the stuff you're hearing in the media*. Like:
The underlying change in the way American consumers and business leaders think about saving and spending will make the recovery one of the slowest in history and the next decade one of lowered expectations. Many economists agree that the U.S. will face at least several years of very modest growth as consumers and companies work off the vast debt they assumed in the last decade.

...whlie many analysts are seeking simply short-term adjustments in the Fed's position, others are asserting that nothing short of a new way of handling monetary policy is needed. For what is becoming increasingly clear is that there is little the Fed can now do to help bring interest rates down if it continues to embrace its current strategy. In some ways, the Fed appears to have boxed itself into a corner.

''They are stuck in the embarrassing position of having their finger in the dike and believing they are the country's last hope,'' observed Robert Solow, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

And of course there's China:
On paper, China looks powerful and dynamic even today..... In reality, however, the Middle Kingdom, as it once called itself, is a paper dragon. Peer beneath the surface, and there's a weak China, one that is in long-term decline and even on the verge of collapse. The symptoms of decay are to be seen everywhere.

Yep, we're living in unusual times! Or are we?

Well, quote number one above came from a Time article in 1992. And, as you know, 1992 ushered in the most amazing decade for economic growth in modern history!

Surely, quote number two speaks to the unique predicament today's Fed finds itself in, as well as its general lack of credibility... Well, nope! That came from a New York Times article published April 1, 1982. Believe me, you and I would love for the market to do an 80s repeat from here!

As for quote number three, after a phenomenal decade of growth, surely that one speaks to the bubble that is today's China. Well, nope again! That came from the forward to Gordon Chang's book The Coming Collapse of China, which was published September 2001 --- the very beginning of that phenomenal decade.

Not to suggest that we don't have issues, we do. Thing is, we always do. And doom and gloom always sells better than sunshine or lights at ends of tunnels.

Happy Easter!


*Thanks go to The Fat Pitch blog for finding these gems...

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