This time is “not different.” The only difference will be what triggers the next valuation reversion when it occurs. If the last two bear markets haven’t taught you this by now, we are not sure what will. Maybe the third time will be the “charm.”
Regardless of how many times we discuss these issues, quote successful investors, or warn of the dangers – the response from both individuals and investment professionals is always the same... “I am a long term, fundamental value, investor. So these rules don’t really apply to me.” No, you’re not. Yes, they do.Individuals are long term investors only as long as the markets are rising.
“Put simply, most apparent “opportunities” to obtain investment returns above zero in conventional assets over the coming decade are based on a misunderstanding of valuations, total returns, and historical yield relationships. At current valuations, virtually everything is priced for a decade of zero. The unwinding of these speculative extremes is likely to be chaotic, and will likely occur over a shorter horizon than investors imagine."
The ongoing misinterpretation and massaging of economic data to spin a positive view on the economy are fine and good. However, real economic recovery must start with the average American since consumption makes up nearly 70% of economic growth. While the current Administration and Federal Reserve promote policies that are supposed to create economic prosperity for all, the reality is that remains bottled up on Wall Street.
To say that hedge funds have had a tough time navigating the world of activist central banks and central-planning, would be a vast understatement. According to Barclays, in the last almost 4.5 years, HFs actually generated negative cumulative alpha starting around 2011. Here is what they blame it on.
"This whole speculative mania will end tragically. How did we not learn this from 2000-2002, or 2007-2009, or the collapse of every other mania in history? My sense is that it’s a mistake to assume that yield-seeking hasn’t been fully exhausted across every class of securities...For those who insist that there is always a bull market somewhere, I would suggest that the most likely bull market to emerge here will be in bear market assets."
Jan 2008: Bernanke "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession." Jun 2008: Bernanke "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished." Jun 2016: Yellen "chances of recession this year are 'quite low'... The U.S. economy is doing well. My expectation is that the U.S. economy will continue to grow." Channelling Bernanke?
The world's largest exporter of crude oil, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, recently announced a plan for its post-oil future. If a country almost synonymous with the oil economy can see the need for such a plan, how can the rest of the world, particularly the United States, the world's largest consumer of petroleum, not see the necessity of such foresight?
With the collapse of China's smoke-and-mirrors commodity bubble comes the post-mortem as the horde of Chinese gamblers flood from one government-appointed market to another as the American dream of get-rich-quick schemes appears to have been adopted by the burgeoning middle classes now disillusioned with real work.As Bloomberg reports so shockingly, from the Dutch tulip craze of 1637 to America’s dot-com bubble at the turn of the century, history is littered with speculative frenzies that ended badly for investors; but rarely has a mania escalated so rapidly, and spurred such fevered trading, as the great China commodities boom of 2016..."you have far too much credit, money sloshing about, money looking for higher returns."
Like many controversial topics in investing, there is no real professional consensus on market timing. Academics claim that it’s not possible, while traders and chartists swear by the idea. That said, as VisualCapitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, one thing that everyone can probably agree on is that markets are cyclical and that securities do have recurring chart patterns. They aren’t predictable all of the time, but learning the fundamentals around market cycles can only help an investor in furthering their understanding of how things work.
Unfortunately, when central-planners "drag forward" future consumption today, you leave a "void" in the future that must be filled. That future "void" continues to expand each time activity is dragged forward until, inevitably, it can not be filled. This is currently being witnessed in the overall data trends as seen in the deterioration in corporate earnings and revenues. The only question is whether Central Banks can continue to support asset prices long enough for the economic cycle to catch up. Historically, such is a feat that has never been accomplished.