Posts filed under “Psychology”

New Column up at Real Money (06/21/05)


My latest Real Money column, "Will Rallying Oil Set a Bear Trap?" is posted. It is based on a similarly titled post earlier this week

Here’s an excerpt:

"While the tension between the "too-much-cash" and the "not-enough-cash" on hand crowds play out, oil has crept back into the market discussion. The easy conclusion is that any increase in the price of crude is automatically bad for stocks, but the reality is far more complex. A quick look at some charts reveals that, at least for the past three years, there has been a positive correlation between the two assets. Since October 2002, oil has appreciated to $60 from $25 a barrel, a 140% gain. At the same time, Nasdaq has rallied to near 2100 from 1100, for a 90% gain. As far as stocks are concerned, so far, oil’s bark is worse than its bite. To date, it has hardly been the Boogieman so many traders expected it to be.

Of course, reality is less simple: Many of the same forces driving oil over that period — post-recession recovery, massive Federal stimulus, increased economic activity out of China — have also been driving stocks. At a certain point, we will pass a tipping point where oil’s price rises will have more bite, but oil tends to be a self-correcting commodity: Once it gets too expensive, it will significantly slow the global economy. In addition, while the "too-expensive" level remains a guessing game amongst economists, the one thing they can all agree upon is the impact of slower growth: It reduces demand for oil, which drives energy prices lower. As oil gets cheaper, the cycle starts all over again.

Some oil bears have been pointing to the imminent U.S. strategic reserve being topped off later this year as the basis for oil prices slipping over the longer term. They reason that the reduced demand from Uncle Sam removes part of the firm bid below current energy prices. This could (in theory) allow for crude to move back to the $30s. Unfortunately for this line of thought, China has recently announced the creation of its own strategic petroleum reserve, created just as the U.S.’s is filled. But don’t worry, they say they will spread out the storage of crude and heating oil over a five-year period. You can assume that the firm bid in crude below present prices will remain pretty firm until a full-blown global slowdown ensues.


A few people have challenged the assertion that Oil and Stocks can rise together. Here’s a 3 year chart of each:


click for larger charts



UPDATE: June 23, 2005 5:35 am

The full column, sans graphs above, is now posted at MSN, under the title "Will rallying oil prices burn the bears?"

Whoever figures out the seemingly random pattern of which columns get moved to a free site (either MSN or Yahoo!) will get nominated for a Nobel in mathematics . . .   



Will Rallying Oil Set a Bear Trap?  (subscription), 6/21/2005 12:00 PM EDT

Will rallying oil prices burn the bears?   (free), 6/23/2005 1:00 AM EDT

Category: Commodities, Investing, Psychology

Confusing Sentiment Data

Category: Politics, Psychology, War/Defense

Will Rallying Oil Set a Bear Trap?

Category: Commodities, Markets, Psychology, Trading

Category: Psychology, Real Estate

Apprenticed Investor: Lose the News

Category: Financial Press, Investing, Markets, Psychology

The Prediction Markets Chalk Another One Up!

Category: Markets, Psychology

Why Investors Fail

Nice piece by BMO Nesbitt on why investors fail: “Individuals have historically underperformed the markets, earning just 2.6% vs. the S&P 500 gain of 12.2% between 1984 and the end of 2002*. Research in the U.S. has shown that this dramatic underperformance comes as a direct result of client behaviour, or more specifically, the attempt…Read More

Category: Investing, Psychology

Anticipating the Dominant Stories

Category: Investing, Markets, Psychology

Chart of the Week: 10 Year Yield (Post-Crash) vs Japan

Category: Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Psychology

uh-oh: Time Magazine on Housing

Is this the Magazine Indicator at work? First Fortune, now Time Magazine: We’ve seen some terrific Contrary market calls from magazine covers:  Time magazine naming Jeff Bezos man of the year in December 1999 marked the top of the internet bubble; The March 21st  2005 Newsweek cover story, “The Incredible  Shrinking Dollar,” marked a key…Read More

Category: Psychology, Real Estate