The latest sentiment reading by Investors Intelligence shows a disturbing trend. Only 15.6% of financial newsletters are currently bearish on equities.
Last time the bearish indicator was this low was April 1987. A few months later (Black Monday) the DJIA dropped 21% in a single day:
In other words – when everything seems peachy — watch out. Turns out that peaks and troughs in investor sentiment are pretty good contra-indicators. Bullish sentiment tends to peak as bubbles are near their top, and vice versa.
Pessimism about U.S. stocks among newsletter writers fell to the lowest level since April 1987, six months before the equity market crash known as Black Monday, following the biggest rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in seven decades.
The proportion of bearish publications among about 140 tracked by Investors Intelligence fell to 15.6 percent yesterday from 16.7 percent a week earlier. Sentiment has improved since October 2008, when the financial crisis drove the figure to a 14-year high of 54.4 percent. After plunging 38 percent in 2008, the S&P 500 has risen 25 percent this year.
This is not to say markets wont’ run again in 2010. Irrational bull markets can last much longer than you’d think. The momentum they build up is impossible to fight. Gotta wait for that to break before getting seriously short. Example – After the bearish-sentiment index bottomed in 1987, the market rallied another 14% before crashing.
Smart investors like Bill Fleckenstein have been highlighting the credit bubble since the mid-1990’s. And today markets are more irrational than ever. Government intervention is preventing market cycles from proceeding like never before.
Industries like housing, banking, and commercial real estate have become completely dependent on government support. Their future (and that of our currency) depend on whether our leaders will extend or end this support. It’s a ludicrous, manipulated market.
So far America’s leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they have zero tolerance for economic pain. Their support for the financial markets seems unlimited, no matter the long-term cost. I don’t see that changing without something drastic hapenning – another huge round of bailouts, a shift in the political landscape, or something…
This article by Peter Tasker, a well-regarded financial analyst in Asia, comes via the Financial Times (hat tip Marshall). He sees an enormous bubble forming in China – and parallels to Japan circa 1987:
Emerging markets, it seems, have had a good crisis. In contrast to the debt-ridden G7 economies, they have quickly resumed their growth trajectory. No surprise, then, that US emerging market mutual funds are experiencing record inflows. The stellar performance of the Brics markets – Brazil, Russia, Indian and China – is due to continue into the distant future.
Such is the narrative now forming among investors. To anyone who has lived through the rise and fall of the Japanese bubble economy, it should set off alarm bells.
Remember that it was in the years following the 1987 "Black Monday" crash that Japanese assets went from being expensive to absurdly overvalued and the Nikkei’s dizzy rise to 39,000 forced the bears to throw in the towel…
But what you saw was decidedly not what you got. The crisis, far from leaving Japan unscathed, exacerbated its structural problems and laid the groundwork for a far greater disaster…
Interest rates have been far too low for far too long. If the natural interest rate is, as the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell posited, around the level of nominal GDP growth, then China’s interest rates should have been close to 10 per cent for most of this decade. Alan Greenspan, former chief of the US Federal Reserve, has been criticised for holding interest rates too low and setting off a housing and credit bubble in the US. But if US monetary policy was wrong for the US, it was even more wrong for the high-growth countries that "imported" it. The result could only be a massive misallocation of capital…
At the 2008 peak, the price-to-book ratio of the Shanghai stock exchange was over seven times, well above the five times achieved by Japanese stocks in 1989. After the turbulence of the past 18 months, the ratio has fallen to 3.3 times, still the world’s second highest after India, and residential real estate trades at multiples of income that make the US housing boom look tame…
What is scary is that the current frothiness of emerging markets,
Over the past few months, every attempt by the bears to depress prices has been met with renewed buying pressure, resulting in even higher prices. What goes up, however, has to come down and some subtle signs are indicating that this decline might be more than a simple correction, much more.
It was after midnight on April 15th, 1912 when the unsinkable did the unthinkable. Built and labeled as unsinkable, the Titanic was the most advanced and largest passenger steamship of its time.
Even though the Titanic’s crew was aware of the fact that the waters were iceberg-infested, the ship was heading full-steam for a destination it would never reach.
Being aware of danger is one thing; acting prudently for protection is another.
Today, investors find themselves in an environment that is infested with symbolic icebergs. For savvy investors willing to pay attention and heed warnings, this doesn’t necessarily translate into a financial shipwreck, while others might soon be reminded of the Titanic when they look at their account balance.
Iceberg cluster #1: Lack of leadership
Throughout the financial meltdown financials, real estate, and homebuilders fell harder and faster than broad market indexes a la S&P 500 and Dow Jones. Beginning with the miraculous March revival (more about that in a moment), the broad market rose while financials, real estate, and homebuilders soared.
Those three sectors led the decline and led the subsequent (mock) recovery. Since it is reasonable to assume that those sectors will continue to lead the market throughout this economic cycle, it behooves investors to watch such leading sectors closely.
The S&P 500 recorded a closing high on October 19th at 1,097. The Financial Select Sector SPDRs reached their closing high a few days earlier on October 15th. Since their respective closing highs, the S&P 500 has dropped 2.82%, while XLF has already shed 5.64%.
A more pronounced performance slump is visible in the home builders sector. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF peaked on September 16th and has fallen 9.97% since. Keep in mind that XHB’s lackluster performance comes on the heels of the biggest monthly increase in total
Take a look at the ominous headline and chart from 1929 into 1930. – Ilene
Black Monday: Ancient History Or Imminent Future?
By Nico Isaac, courtesy of Elliott Wave International
The following article includes analysis from Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave Theorist. For more insights from Robert Prechter, download the 75-page eBook Independent Investor eBook. It’s a compilation of some of the New York Times bestselling author’s writings that challenge conventional financial market assumptions. Visit Elliott Wave International to download the eBook, free.
Once upon a time, the term "Black Monday" was to Wall Street what the name "Lord Voldemort" was to Hogwarts. It turned the air freezing cold and sent traders flinching around every corner in fear of a repeat of the October 19, 1987 or October 28, 1929 meltdown.
Case in point: The 2008 "Black Monday" anniversary. At the time, the U.S. stock market was locked in a ferocious downtrend that included regular, triple-digit daily declines of 400 points and more. Needless to say, when the final two Mondays of October arrived, the least superstitious investors surrounded their portfolios with more good-luck talismans than a Bingo player. See October 19, 2008 AP headline below:
"Black Monday: Stocks Sink As Gloom Seizes Wall Street. Prolonged Economic Turmoil" is seen.
That was then. Today, the usual dread surrounding the back-to-back string of "Black Mondays" is nowhere to be found. In its place, media reports abound of a new, global bull market "shrugging off," "ignoring," and "making a distant memory" of the event.
For one, "gloom" hasn’t "seized" the U.S. stock market in quite a while; from its March 2009 low, the Dow has risen more than 50% to above the psychologically important 10,000 level. For another, the mainstream experts insist that today’s financial animal is unrecognizable to that of 1987, and especially 1929. In their eyes, it’s a completely different — i.e. safer, smarter, and sounder system.
We beg to differ.
See, while the usual experts want to put as much mental distance between today’s market and those that facilitated the 1987 recession and 1929-1932 Great Depression — the physical similarities are impossible to ignore; more so, in fact, to the latter scenario.
Here, the October 2009 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast presents the following news clip from the October 25, 1929 New York Daily Investment News.
Any time there is a war and countless people in one, two or more nations die for some ideological, religious, ethnic, cultural or nationalistic "reason", two entities benefit: those who supply the weapons and those who supply the loans to buy the weapons.
As you’re probably aware, the Fed has a hard time spotting asset bubbles. Just as there was no housing bubble in 2006 according to the honorable and exceptionally “courageous” Ben Bernanke, there’s no bubble in equities today and certainly no ZIRP-induced fixed income bubble either.
The other thing the Eccles cabal has trouble spotting - and this is of course inextricably linked to an inability to spot speculative excess - is inflation.
This year has been a wild ride for Chinese stocks, something that long-time investors have come to expect from a country that's seen 55 bull and bear markets since the ruling Communist Party first allowed equity trading in 1990. As the Shanghai Stock Exchange celebrates it's 25th anniversary on Thursday, here's a look at some of the key milestones on China's path from equity-market upstart to $7 trillion behemoth.
Holiday trading kicked into gear, although volume for the S&P managed to push into a technical accumulation day. Things are likely to remain quiet through to next week and any sharp moves at this stage have a high risk of failure.
The top performing index on the day was the Russell 2000. It managed to add another decent gain o keep the string of higher closes running. It didn't quite close above 1,200, but it may do so Friday (with the aforementioned caveat of holiday trading). Overall action in this index has been positive, and relative performance to other indices continues to improve.
Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...
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I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.
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1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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