Posts filed under “Sentiment”
“We are in the business of making mistakes. The only difference between the winners and the losers is that the winners make small mistakes, while the losers make big mistakes.”
If you are a regular main street investor, you may never heard of Ned Davis.
If you are a market technician, however, you certainly have – Ned Davis may be the single most highly respected Technical Analyst working today.
The 67 year old Davis began Ned Davis Research (NDR*) in 1980. The firm quickly developed a reputation as independent, institutional research company by offering unbiased, in-depth financial analysis. Compared to compromised wirehouse research, NDR was driven instead by sophisticated analytic tools and data integrity. (See this year 2,000 article for a deep dive into the firm).
Ned was a regular on Louis Rukeyserer, and frequently graces the pages of Barron’s. Typical observations: In October 2012, Davis said the data suggested Gold was Facing ‘Excessive Optimism’.
If you want to know if its worth your time to spend an hour with this legendary technician, consider what Ned calls the four basic traits of successful investors:
1. They look at objective indicators. Removing the emotions from the investing process, they focus on data instead of reacting to events;
2. They are Disciplined: The data drives decision making with pre-established rules. External factors do not influence them;
3. They have Flexibility: The best investors are open-minded to new ideas, or revisiting previous thoughts;
4. They are Risk adverse: Not always obvious to investors, it is a crucial part of successful investing.
Ned has also written a few books over the years:
• The Triumph of Contrarian Investing: Crowds, Manias, and Beating the Market by Going Against the Grain
• Markets in Motion
• Being Right or Making Money I referenced this book a few years ago — its out of print and goes for $432 on Amazon for the hardcover, but the soft cover is a bargain at $250.
Kevin Lane and I spent an hour with Ned — here is that conversation:
* NDR has clients in over 30 countries, serves over 5,000 users worldwide at investment firms, banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, pension and endowment funds, registered investment advisors, equity research departments, and othe major financial institutions.
Individual Investors Are Not Buying It Click to enlarge Lots of people have been discussing how negative investor sentiment is, showing the chart above. It shows markets making new all time highs as expectations that markets will be higher six months hence is at a mere 19% of AAII respondents. (See Individual Investors Are An…Read More
You probably heard the chatter over the past few quarters: “The Great Rotation” was about to unleash a new leg up in Equities. Bonds were going to be sold, equities purchased, and a new leg up was starting.
The story goes something like this: U.S. Treasury Bonds had enjoyed a 30 year bull market, and it was now coming to an end. Paul Volcker rebooted fixed income, taking rates to 20% to break inflation, and in the three decades since bonds have seen their prices inflate as rates normalized, then fell precariously low, then were driven to zero by QE. That cycle is over, we are told, as rates now have nowhere to go but up, and investors will soon become sensible and rotate into equities.
Except, of course, that it hasn’t.
Why? Perhaps we should consider an alternative explanation to the sector rotation story, which is rapidly being revealed as little more than wishful thinking.
The story that is not getting told nearly as much: The investment community noticed the success of Endowment funds (e.g., Yale’s David Swensen). The monkey-see-monkey-do community, ignoring valuations and prior gains, hired new consultants to shake it up. “Make us look like Yale” they pleaded to the mostly worthless community of consultants. No fools they, the overpaid consultants happily complied, and the next thing we know, these Whiffenpoof Wannabes are up to their eyeballs in private equity, hedge funds, structured products, real estate, and commodities/managed futures.
Gee, late-to-the-party investors in illiquid, pricey investments — who ever could have imagined that this was not going work out particularly well.
Time for a change: Fast forward a disastrous decade. As managers and consultants were replaced/fired, the new guys wanted to start unwinding the work of their priors. Since most of these alternative asset classes are illiquid, there is not a lot of wiggle room without severe haircuts (penalties for early withdrawal). What to do.
One of the few that is not are the Commodities/Managed futures bucket. My guess, based on prices and logic, is that these new managers are selling what they can — and that is commodities.
What do the charts (after jump) say?
Gold and Silver flat for 2 years. Energy for even longer. Agricultural products back to 2010 prices. Industrial metals near 2010 lows.
Commodities started the 2000s so promising — what with rampant inflation and the dollar losing 41% of its value, have since gone nowhere. So the new guys are sellers, and the money is going into less esoteric, liquid assets.
That means traditional assets: Munis, Treasuries and Corporates for the safe money, stocks for their risk assets.
The great rotation is already underway. Just not the way the stock bulls have been hoping for.
click for ginormous chart Source: AAII, Fusion Analytics Today, lets look at another interesting data point from AAII: Cash allocations reached a 16-month high in March. Individual investors pulled money from both equities and bonds last month. We have shown the flip side of this chart in the past — equity allocation — which…Read More
Click to enlarge Source Merrill Lynch I’ve shown this chart several times over the past year, but its worth repeating: The Street remains very bearish by historical standards. Note this is not at all a short term indicator; and does operate with a bit of a lag. Previously: Strategists Most Bearish…Read More
Click to enlarge Yesterday, I mentioned that 2 things that led to the chart above: 1) Too many people are looking for a correction for one to occur; 2) Bearish sentiment rises after selling has already occurred. With that as our backdrop, consider what it means in terms of long term swings in…Read More
Click to enlarge Terrific timely discussion chart from Mary Ann Bartels & Co. at MER showing the extent of bearish anticipation of a correction: Investors Intelligence (II) sentiment data shows 34% of newsletter writers are expecting a correction. The prior two corrections occurred with this level at 34.7% and 35.1% respectively. Bartels adds that…Read More
I mentioned last week that bullish sentiment was getting a bit frothy. After a few weeks of record highs, expectations that stock prices will continue rising had surged. Not quite an extrapolation of recent trends into infinity, but getting there. This morning, I wanted to address the flip side of that — Bearish sentiment (expectations…Read More