Global emotional overload
The seemingly never-ending wave of negative headlines is having a sharper impact on a larger part of the investor crowd. Let's call it GEO for Global Emotional Overload.
Add High Frequency Trading (HFT) to the mix and you get the volatile waves of red ink.
Interestingly, the top end of this trade range is beginning to shift its character just slightly. Three or four weeks ago, recent headlines would have resulted in even more violent reactions. Additionally, volumes would have likely been far higher (and they were).
Could we be seeing the first stages of the market simply tiring of responding to the same events? Could we be seeing the telltale signs of the weakest of hands already gone from the market leaving fewer to exit on each new headline?
Over the next few months, I suspect we will look back on this and see just that.
The road to there will not be simple as we still have our own deadlines rapidly approaching. However, when we look at the following elements, we can begin to see that this monster is able to be tamed--like all the others have been. It ain't pretty but it is workable:
- As Q3 reporting season wanes, the net YOY growth in earnings is approaching 18% during a quarter which just 4 weeks ago was being called for as "zero" GDP growth.
- Jobless claims hit a 7-month low this morning and are now below the dreaded 400,000 number for a full month
- Liquidity and cash on balance sheets has hit new highs
- Productivity gains suggest many lessons have been learned during this phase of hardship, making stocks even more valuable for the long-term investor
- 10-year bonds are now priced at a P/E of over 50 and the crowd is clamoring for same
- The broad equity market is priced at a P/E of 12 and no one wants any of it. Reminds me of gold at $240 and no buyers and oil at $11 a barrel and the asset class was considered dead.
- Make sure you take advantage of the current "dead" asset class: equities.
Five years from now we will be laughing about this last few years and crazy period we have embraced.
The properly focused investor will continue to use ugly periods to build value for the long haul.
Make no mistake, this is not intended to be a rose-colored glasses review. Indeed, there is likely more ugliness ahead in the short-term merely because the crowd is lost in the bad news. Like a fly to the flame, it does not end well if we get emotional about short-term events.
Much work is required and even more patience to fill the time needed.
In the end, sadly and painfully at times, we find opportunity tends to come wrapped in very ugly work clothing.