How Bullish is the Investing Public?

We previously mentioned how Bullish the Pros were; What about the investing public — how Bullish are they?

At least when measurd by a particular sub group — over 5,000 online WSJ readers — the answer is "Very" :

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click for larger graphic
Dj_poll_year_end
via WSJ

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While I see a lot of anecdotal chatter about this, and prefer to stick with more quantitative data. Too many people say “All my colleagues/friends/brother-in-laws are _____. That’s meaningless.

The Business Week survey reveals one group of bullishness (Strategists). When I made my guess, I never figured I would be the outlier to the downside. Without thinking much about it, I assumed I would be in the bottom third, or even quartile.

Silly me.

Other surveys reveal a similar Bullish bend. The WSJ poll (over 3,750 people) show 46% expect the same thing as the market gurus: between 11-12k. Another 12% think we end up at more that 12,000. About 22% expect to end 2006 unchanged. Only 9% think we will see the Dow between 10,000-10,500 – a mild correction of less than 10%. A little more than one in 10 persons (11%) think the Dow will drop below 10,000.

The one anecdote I will mention is television bookings:  Why is it I see the same few Bears on CNBC? The bookers I speak with tell me there are far fewer Bulls than Bears.

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Bottom line: Both the pros and the amateurs are moderately Bullish.

 

Category: Psychology

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P/E vs S&P 500 (50 Years)

As promised, today brings us to the 4th in our series of charts: P/E vs S&P500 click for larger chart courtesy of Mike Panzner, Rabo Securities > I’ll get into the significance of what this means to the markets later, but for now, note where the P/E is over the median, and its impact on…Read More

Category: Earnings, Markets, Psychology, Technical Analysis

Annual CD Sales Slide Resumes; Down 8% for ’05

We’ve broadly discussed the recording industry this year. How’d they do in terms of numbers?

Wsj_music_20051215
After a slight blip up in 2004, CD sales resumed their prior slide. Sales were off 7% (CD albums only) or 8% (CDs and singles). The decrease is comparable to the decline in Movie theater attendance, which fell about 7%.

Reported Album sales (January through the week ending
December 25) were 602.2 million in 2005; weaker than last year’s 650.8 million. Digital singles sales more than doubled to 332 million — a 148% increase.

Some blamed the Album CD sales slump on the cherry-picking of singles by a fickle public. But the broader analysis reveals that CDs are a format in decline. While 95% of music sales are still in the CD format, there are plenty of signs this is changing. In addition to the different fortunes of the two formats — CDs are slumping while digitial downloads skyrocket — the industry itself is changing. A new breed of music label is distributing their product strictly in digital format, thereby bypassing CDs entirely. See Cordless Recordings as an example of this.

This year’s biggest sellers, according to Nielsen SoundScan, were Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi at 4.866 million; In second place was 50 Cent’s The Massacre, which sold 4.834 million. "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway finished 3rd, selling 3.4 million copies. The top sales position has not been occupied by a female solo artist since Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill in 1996. In 2005, female solo artists captured the gold and the bronze.

Although the major labels lament the internet, P2P, and file sharing, it turns out that the Net has been a boon for Indie Labels. Much of the industry’s complaints are actually about disintermediation — the web forces them out of the relationship between the artists and their fans. The indies understand this, and have been using the net to promote their unknown artists.   

While sales here, in the UK sales continue to do better than in the U.S. — despite Great Britain’s widespread adoption of broadband. Credit likely goes to the wider playlists in UK radio, and a payola-free radio industry. Britain does not have the same concentrated private ownership of Radio Stations which have become so prevalent in the U.S. since the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, which enabled firms like Clearchannel and Infinity to scoop up 1,000s of stations.

Its no coincidence that music sales problems can be traced to what occurred following that legislation’s enactment.

While legal Music downloads more than doubled this year, so too has the recording industry’s misconduct. After settling Price fixing charges in 2002, it appears that the recording industry brain trust is at it again: An industrywide probe into how much record companies charge for digital music was started by NYAG Eliot Spitzer; subpoenas have gone out to several labels.

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One last astonishing piece of music trivia: Mariah Carey’s CD spawned her 17th #1
single, "Don’t Forget About Us." This places her in second place on the
all time #1 hit list — behind the Beatles’ total 20 #1 hits. If Carey
manages to pass the Fab Four, I will interpret this as incontrovertible proof that life is meaningless or God is dead . . . I haven’t decided which.

Finally, you can see my Anti-"Best of 2005" here.

UPDATE January 3, 2006 6:09am

It turns out that the British are the ‘world’s biggest music buyers.’  According to figures released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) early 2005, the UK music industry recorded an overall 3% increase in volume sales, mostly due to its robust albums market.

The British buy the most compact discs in the world – an average of 3.2 per year, compared to 2.8 in the US and 2.1 in France.

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Sources:
Silent Night for Music Sales
Holiday Buyers Spurn Tunes As Industry Picture Worsens; ‘Cesspool of Really Bad Bands’
ETHAN SMITH
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 16, 2005; Page B1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113469750280524159.html

UK ‘world’s biggest music buyer’
BBC, Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 12:25 GMT
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4371673.stm

The extensive list of sources used in this posting can be found below

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Category: Music

A Different Kind of Music List: The Anti-”Best of 2005″

Category: Music

1966-1982 Trading Range

Here’s the 1966-1982 trading range: > click for larger chart chart courtesy of Rydex Funds > If we are in fact in a long, post-Bull trading range — see our 100-year Dow chart — than this is year ~5 of what could be a 10-15 year secular Bear market. As the 1966-82 trading range above…Read More

Category: Markets