Just a little thinking out loud… well, on my keyboard… this morning…
Now, don’t get me wrong, this market has momentum, more stimulus is coming, the service sector will bounce back, the Fed will suppress the yield curve if/when interest rates get out of hand, and so on… Therefore, trying to time the end of this mania is a fool’s errand…
What you must believe to believe it’s truly different this time:
1. That fundamentals will never matter again.
2. That stocks can deliver stellar forward returns from a place of record high valuations.
3. That historically high stock market valuations are justified by historically low interest rates.
4. That historically low interest rates will stay historically low indefinitely.
5. That historically low interest rates say something other than the state of general conditions is historically dire.
6. That the stocks of companies that have never made money, even those that are technically, or nearly technically, insolvent will continue to be great investments.
7. That one can become famously and sustainably wealthy by simply owning what others are, for the moment, willing to pay a higher price for, despite its limited (in some cases zero) utility. I’m talking cryptocurrencies.
8. That the topic of #7 will continue its ascent once governments figure out how to tax and regulate it.
9. That the topic of #s 7 and 8 will be allowed to exist even if, as several have been rumbling, central banks deem it a threat and either force strict regulations upon it, or, as India has threatened, ban it altogether.
10. That stocks, having run up to record levels on the prospects for a strong economic recovery, will discount more of the same far into the future.
11. That the sheer emotion, intensity, fervor that characterizes today’s stock market environment will not ultimately turn into exhaustion.
12.That, in essence, human (investor) nature in the aggregate will remain indefinitely static, and, therefore, that we won’t go through cycles that run, at the extremes, from jubilation to depression.
13. That the Fed buying junk debt off of hedge and private equity funds’ portfolios cures the indebted companies’ insolvency… That it doesn’t simply delay it, while, ultimately, leaving the taxpayer with the tab.
14. That Fed money printing and essentially financing trillion+ dollar government deficits as far as the eye can see won’t create unsavory long-term consequences.
Well, good luck with all that…
“The four most dangerous words in investing are: this time it’s different.”
–Sir John Templeton
“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.”
–Sir John Templeton
Yes, the late great Mr. Templeton’s words were always prescient, but to those of you who indeed believe that it is not different this time — who think you can make hay shorting this market.. Well, be very careful…
“The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”
–John Maynard Keynes
Happy Valentines Day!