I’ve been slowly taking in Howard Marks’s insightful (to put it mildly) book The Most Important Thing Illuminated. His perspectives on cycles and risk match my own to a virtual tee, and — not that we needed it — they validate our present balanced (less correlated to a raging bull market than we’ve been the past 10 years) approach to the market.
You should expect lots of Marks quotes herein going forward.
This one speaks volumes about present general conditions:
“Investment risk comes primarily from too-high prices, and too-high prices often come from excessive optimism and inadequate skepticism and risk aversion. Contributing underlying factors can include low prospective returns on safer investments, recent good performance by risky ones, strong inflows of capital, and easy availability of credit. The key lies in understanding what impact things like these are having. The investment thought process is a chain in which each investment sets the requirement for the next.”
By the way, if you’re not familiar with Howard Marks, he’s a co-founder of Oaktree Capital and is highly regarded as one of the very best investors in the business. Ironically, given what troubles me these days, he has a phenomenal track record investing in the distressed debt space.