Posts filed under “Psychology”
As a fan of investor psychology, I find sentiment intriguing. Measuring it is a challenge. We can’t trust what people say because they become bullish after they buy and bearish after they sell, convincing themselves that past trades were the correct way to go. Humans are notorious liars — especially to themselves. When they are not lying, they often can be found busy making excuses and other rationalizations for their actions.
Hence, we need to find more objective ways to view and measure sentiment.
One of his recent comments has been making the rounds on social media. Paraphrased to remove the trader jargon and hyperbole, it read something like this:
The SPX has traded more than half a percent above its five-day moving average for 10 consecutive trading days in a row. In the prior 75 years, this has only happened twice — in 1982 and 2002. Each time it marked an end of a multiyear bear market. In other words, this is a rare rip higher that has only occurred previously at the end of multiyear bear markets. Each time it happened came after a mild, four-week drop. It’s incredibly uncommon and wholly unexpected.
The market condition that Goepfert is describing can best be called “persistently overbought.” As we have noted before, persistently overbought stock markets reflect strength and demand for equities, often in a period of deep pessimism. That’s seems like a pretty good description of current conditions.
I contacted Goepfert to see if he could provide more insight into what this unusual sentiment reading means. After all, sentiment measures are notoriously fickle, and tend to generate more noise than signal — the exception being when they reach extremes.
Which was exactly his point. On Oct. 15, SentimentTrader’s metrics reached just such an extreme. Out of 85 measures he tracks, 43 reached unusually high levels of pessimism all at once. That many metrics pinning the needle at the same time has only happened at other intermediate-term lows, according to Goepfert.
o, you are not going to die from Ebola. To quote a wag on Twitter, “More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.” But the latest scare does have a small positive: It provides me with yet another opportunity to lecture you about how incredibly dumb your lizard brain is. (It’s…Read More
Even if you could pick huge winners, could you hold them? Barry Ritholtz Washington Post, October 5, 2014 Let’s imagine for the moment that you are the World’s Greatest Stock Picker®. You have an uncanny talent for ferreting out “the next Microsoft” — companies that are on the sharpest edge of what’s…Read More
I am a fan of Morgan Housel, columnist at the Motley Fool. His writings evince a strong understanding of behavioral issues, and he has a gift of sifting through the nonsense to get to what really matters. Only on rare occasions do I get to disagree with him. Today is one of those times. Housel has…Read More
Fascinating comparison of popular acceptance of non-traditional (in some jurisdictions, they were called “Deviant”) marraiges. Note how the slopes of the lines showing legality and popular acceptance have shifted. Not just change, but the rate of change has accelerated. This suggests to me a more progressive attitude on Social Issues. Add Marijuana legalization to the…Read More
One of the things I like to do in all of my musings is to find some thing or person who is wrong about an investing-related subject, then trying to figure out where they went awry. On occasion, small pearls of wisdom can be derived from this analytical process, as in this discussion on narrative….Read More