Who Broke the Market’s Crystal Ball?
Corporate earnings continue, in the majority, to beat expectations.
And we’re not future-gazing here when we say that this trend is normal in the first few weeks of the earnings season.
It’s only once we get past the companies that make up about 80-85% of market capitalization that the focus then moves forward, and the "misses" tend to come last.
But knowing how that process works doesn’t stop folks from trying to create an alternative reality of doom-and-gloom about this process.
So What is "Normal"?
And while oftentimes uncomfortable, it’s perfectly normal to NOT know what’s going to happen in the future (I’ve yet to meet anyone who does).
Which is why I always chuckle when I read headlines calling out “uncertainty about the future” as if someone just knocked over and broke the global economic crystal ball.
The reality is that what we’re now witnessing are some of the lowest percentage levels of available capital exposed to the US stock market in decades.
That’s another record high, by the way.
And while this is just my opinion, I think with markets at record highs and exposure at record percentage lows, when all that money in the global financial bathtub starts to roll back towards the stock market we might be in for some rather extraordinary movements in what is already an eight-year-long bull.
Of course, we don't know the future, only the past. And that past includes watching markets get cut in half from two previous record high positions.
But the allure of predictions is that the human mind tends to get stressed when it doesn’t have a reason to explain things.
That’s why headlines (any headlines) are devoured as a way to justify (rightly or wrongly) events and give us the perception of “knowing.”
It’s both a false sense of security and a poor way to structure an investment strategy.
Unfortunately, as an investor you have to learn to live with a few things:
- It is normal to have ugly periods in markets.
- It is normal that we have corrections.
- It is normal that the future looks cloudy.
- It is normal that there is uncertainty.
By the way, these points have been true since the market came into existence.
And it’s not normal to assume those bullet points above mean something bad is coming our way.
We’ve all seen what happens when money stops moving, as it did for a brief moment in 2008-2009. And we’ve all seen the recovery to the lofty position where major stock markets now sit, alongside growth in key sectors that suggests good things to come.
And one of those factors is the over $10 Trillion sitting idle in banks right now.
So if tomorrow America’s consumers who control that enormous $10 Trillion pile of cash suddenly decided they were only $9 Trillion worth of "afraid of the economic uncertainty" and the "unclear future," our GDP would explode for 6 or 7 quarters in a row.
Yet somehow the experts would tell us that’s a bad thing too.
Let’s be thankful where we are and from whence we’ve come.
It’s been a slow and steady upward economic cycle.
The operative word being “upward.”