Posts filed under “Sentiment”

Exuberance? Euphoria? Hardly . . .

Yesterday, the DJIA closed at a new record high, at 15,056.20 while the S&P500 closed at 1,625.96.

While I keep hearing some people claim there is an excess of giddiness, please excuse me for failing to see it. My frame of reference is the 1999-2000 top, and I certainly do not see anything remotely resembling that sort of sentiment. We cannot say it even resembles the 2007 top.

Remember the Dow 10,000 hats on CNBC? The insane expense accounts, lavish spending? The forecasts of Dow 36,000? In 1999, the nonstop media coverage of markets resembled a home team making it to the Superbowl or World Series. Stocks had become the hottest sport there was. You could not attend a cocktail party or BBQ without the conversation turning to tech names doubling and tripling.

We have none of that now:

No Dow 15,000 hats on TV.

No media trucks lining the street outside the NYSE or Nasdaq to cover the milestone.

Hardly any mention of it on the nightly news.

Kevin Lane forwarded a note from a friend:

it took until 6:42 pm to get to it, which was a 5 second mention with just a studio read by Brian Williams. No remote from the floor, and they didn’t bother to drag in one of the stooges from CNBC (in one of those corporate co-branding efforts) to breathlessly tell us all what it all means.

This indifference is not the sort of thing typically seen at tops.

Look, I am not saying you have to see lines of blow being snorted off of a $2,000 a night call girl’s ass to say things have gotten irrationally exuberant, but how about a little something?

As we have been saying since 2009, this continues to the most hated rally in market history. Until that changes, I suspect it has farther to run . . .

Category: Markets, Sentiment

Flows say: Still No Confidence in Equities

Cyclicals vs. Defensives
Cyclicals vs. defensives


There are many different ways to measure investor confidence and market sentiment.BoA Merrill Lynch looks at their client flows relative to the market. Some of this is instructive:

On the one hand, private clients were net sellers in four of the last five weeks. However, as the chart shows above, there is a possible rotation starting away from Defensives and towards Cyclicals. That move might suggest that sentiment is improving.

One caveat: It is easy to cherry pick what you want when it comes to investor sentiment. This has a bullish color to it, but there are lots of other bearish readings as well.



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Category: Investing, Markets, Sentiment

Interview: Ned Davis, NDR

  “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.” -Ned Davis   If you are a regular main street investor, you may never heard of Ned Davis. If you are a market technician,…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Psychology, Sentiment, Technical Analysis

Putting Investor Bearish Sentiment into Context

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

Category: Contrary Indicators, Investing, Quantitative, Sentiment

The New Great Rotation: Commodities into Bonds

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.




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Category: Asset Allocation, Commodities, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Investing, Markets, Sentiment

Sir John Templeton on Bull Markets

Quote of the Day: “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” -Sir John Templeton  

Category: Investing, Markets, Sentiment

AAII: Cash Allocations at a 16-Month High

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

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Sentiment

Sell Side Consensus Indicator Still Extremely Bearish

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

Category: Contrary Indicators, Sentiment

AAII Asset Allocation & Deviation Equity Mean

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

Category: Asset Allocation, Investing, Sentiment

Too Many Expecting a Correction

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

Category: Sentiment, Technical Analysis, Think Tank