The Consensus of Nonsense
We’re not out of the woods yet, but as the recent Gilead data shows, the fighting forces needed to topple this enemy are steadily building.
Meanwhile, the head-spinning selling taking us from record highs to new bear market lows in the course of 15 days have probably left most of the crowd feeling a bit dizzy.
And while the light-headedness will likely continue apace, for long-term investors these become small blips on charts in the rear view mirror of years to come.
Last week’s data from BAML and fund managers also shows the mass confusion present in the "professional" part of the investor crowd:
Many assumptions are being made, reported, or shared en masse from distorted facts, and/ or no more than pure personal opinion from talking heads (and sold as news).
What’s highly likely is the reckoning in a few weeks’ time that what we’re currently reacting to will be proven either incorrect, incomplete and/or not nearly as bad as we’ve been told to expect.
Things are never as good as they feel or as bad as they look - it is always somewhere in between.
Standing by This Idea
What we’ve witnessed in the last eight weeks is a massive, overwhelming, suffocating, and numbing wave of "news" flooding every area of our senses.
But it’s not insurmountable. History is the greatest demonstration of human resilience and perseverance. We’ve always overcome our impediments and crises and we’ll do the same here.
My view is that we’ll look back on this a couple years from now and realize that we have collectively permitted the most expensive financial and fiscal wound in the history of mankind to be brought to the US economy, and for far less of a risk than we first feared.
And the current of hugely negative "themes of outcomes" will have been vastly incorrect.
When 97% of fund managers tell you that something is going to happen over the short/mid/long-term, they have/are/will be wrong.
When records are set in cash levels beyond anything we have ever experienced in our lives (and we have experienced a vast number of disastrous events), then the market is unlikely to give that capital a chance to get in at "lower lows."
It’s simply not how markets work.
Markets are like a massive EEG of the audience. They measure how we feel in the short-term and they measure growth, expansion, and value in the long-term.
Right now, we’re all terrified.
Later, "when things get back to the old highs" it will "feel" like the future is clearer.
But it won't be any clearer than it is right at this moment, which takes us conveniently back to the difference between a long-term investor and a trader.
Fear or Faith?
Remember back in 2008, at Crude Oil costs of $147 a barrel, the US was going to be destroyed because of it.
Now, at $20 a barrel, the US is going to be destroyed because of it.
The first assumption was not true.
The second won't be either.
Markets will always make sure the next uptrend begins a) in the darkest moments, and b) with the least number of people on the train as it leaves the station.
That’s how markets work.
As terrible as this will sound, the wild gyrations we’ve witnessed in recent weeks have admittedly left damage in almost every area, other than the newly named "stay at home basket.”
It’s incredible how quickly people think things will become permanent.
Yes, more working-at-home is likely to unfold in the future, but do you really, honestly believe that later, down the road we will all prefer to say locked up in our homes and have no human contact?
If you do, then you may (I said may) be vastly underestimating the positive "what if's" likely to unfold sooner than we all think:
Remember the important part of this week's BAML survey: "Allocation to equities is the lowest since the March 2009 bottom."
I simply suggest we consider what happened AFTER March 2009, even though it took a while to deliver.
Just a little more patience.