What is the chance of the S&P 500 entering a bear market in 2015?
"...I believe that the Fed understands that we are closer to the next economic recession than not. For the Federal Reserve, the worst case scenario is being caught with rates at the 'zero bound' when that occurs. For this reason, while raising rates will likely spark a potential recession and market correction, from the Fed’s perspective this might be the 'lesser of two evils.'"
"Current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. One might as well be investing on a dare..."
Will 2015 be the seventh (7th) consecutive year of the current bull market cycle? It is possible. But with 100% of all analysts and economists betting on that outcome, it is quite possible that something else will happen.
"As was true at the 2000 and 2007 extremes, Wall Street is quite measurably out of its mind. There’s clear evidence that valuations have little short-term impact provided that risk-aversion is in retreat (which can be read out of market internals and credit spreads, which are now going the wrong way). There’s no evidence, however, that the historical relationship between valuations and longer-term returns has weakened at all. Yet somehow the awful completion of this cycle will be just as surprising as it was the last two times around – not to mention every other time in history that reliable valuation measures were similarly extreme. Honestly, you’ve all gone mad."
"The time to liquidate a given position is now seven times as long as in 2008, reflecting much smaller trade sizes in fixed income markets. In part the current liquidity illusion is a product of the risk asymmetries implied by the zero lower bound on interest rates, excess reserves in the system, and perceived central bank reaction functions. However, interest rates in advanced economies won’t remain this low forever. Once the process of normalization begins, or perhaps if market perceptions shift, and it is expected to begin, a re-pricing can be expected. The orderliness of that transition is an open question."
The recent mid-term elections sent a very clear message to Washington, D.C., which was simply "the economy sucks." While statistical economic data suggests that the economy is rapidly healing, it has only been so for a very small percentage of the players. For most American's they have only watched the "rich" prosper as the Federal Reserve put Wall Street before Main Street. Stock buybacks, dividends and acquisitions are great for those that have money invested in the financial markets, however, for the rest of America it is only a spectator sport. The risk to the markets currently is that the wave of deflationary pressures engulfing the globe have only begun to wash back on the domestic economy. The drag on exports, combined with the potential for extremely cold winter weather, puts both economic and earnings growth rate projections at risk. With the markets in extremely overvalued territory, the risks to investors clearly outweigh the rewards over the long-term.
“Keep in mind that even terribly hostile market environments do not resolve into uninterrupted declines. Even the 1929 and 1987 crashes began with initial losses of 10-12% that were then punctuated by hard advances that recovered about half of those losses before failing again... The 2007 top began with a plunge as market internals deteriorated materially, increasing day-to-day volatility, and a tendency for large moves to occur in sequence." Investors should interpret recent market strength in its full context: we’ve observed a fast, furious advance to clear an oversold “air-pocket” decline.
"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
"...the underlying cause of a crash will be found in the preceding months or years, in the progressively increasing build-up of market cooperativity, or effective interactions between investors, often translating into accelerating ascent of the market price (the bubble). According to this ‘critical’ point of view, the specific manner by which prices collapsed is not the most important problem: a crash occurs because the market has entered an unstable phase and any small disturbance or process may have triggered the instability."
"Present conditions create an urgency to examine all risk exposures. Once overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes are joined by deterioration in market internals and trend-uniformity, one finds a narrow set comprising less than 5% of history that contains little but abrupt air-pockets, free-falls, and crashes."
There’s really no point in trying to convert anyone to our viewpoint. Somebody will have to hold stocks over the completion of the present cycle, and encouraging one investor to reduce risk simply means that someone else will have to bear it instead... In any event, be careful in believing that a market advance “proves” concerns about valuations wrong. What further advances actually do is simply extend the scope of the potential losses that are likely to follow. That lesson has been repeated across history.
"The Ingredients Of A Market Crash": John Hussman Explains "Why Take The Concerns Of A Permabear Seriously"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2014 20:39 -0400
"I should be clear that market peaks often go through several months of top formation, so the near-term remains uncertain. Still, it has become urgent for investors to carefully examine all risk exposures. When extreme valuations on historically reliable measures, lopsided bullishness, and compressed risk premiums are joined by deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and a breakdown in trend uniformity, it’s advisable to make certain that the long position you have is the long position you want over the remainder of the market cycle. As conditions stand, we currently observe the ingredients of a market crash." - John Hussman
While we are not predicting that the proverbial "wheels are about the come off the cart," today, this is another in a long list of indications that value in the stock market is no longer present. Of course, this would also suggest this might be, just maybe, a time to start considering "selling high." Of course, such a suggestion is wildly ludicrous and absolutely illogical since it is widely believed that the markets will never go down...ever.
The uncorrected half-cycle advance since 2009 has been accompanied by a resurgence of proponents advocating that stocks should simply be bought and held indefinitely, regardless of price. As Graham & Dodd warned, "it is important to note that mass speculation can flourish only in such an atmosphere of illogic and unreality." The over-arching reality is that there is a cliff at the edge of what appears to be a permanently high plateau.