The triumph of hope over experience

The Fed bailed out Bear Stearns and now everything is okay. Right? RIGHT???

Wrong.

The Fed bailed out Bear Stearns in a forced marriage to J.P. Morgan because they feared (and still fear) a collapse of our financial system. That isn’t good news.

The Fed cut interest rates another 75 basis points, down to 2.25%, because it’s trying to re-ignite economic growth. They are more worried about growth than inflation despite surging commodity prices and a tanking US dollar.

Economic reports this week showed worse employment data, worse leading economic indicators, worse business outlook, worse housing starts, worse producer price inflation, worse capacity utilization, worse industrial production, and worse forecast auto sales.

So why did the market rally this week?

The triumph of hope over experience.

The stock market is simply not reflecting economic reality or previous experience with economic slowdowns. Those who believe we’ll ride this out without an even 20% decline in the major indexes need to prepare themselves for a bumpy ride.

I’m not moving into a fallout shelter, but I’m also not ignoring a long and vivid stock market history, either. I’m ready for a rough couple of years that will, eventually, be followed by another economic and stock market boom.

This is not the time to think the Fed and Treasury can solve all economic problems (have they ever really succeeded in the past?). This is not a time to expect a mid-cycle slowdown or light stock market downturn. This is the time to prepare for tough sledding.

I’m ready for a downturn, and I’m finding good things to buy. But, I’m not expecting this to be a pleasant or smooth ride!

Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, financial, tax, or legal advice. The opinions, estimates and projections contained herein are subject to change without notice. Information throughout this blog has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, but such accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Will China Tank?

The Chinese stock market has been on a tear over the last 2 1/2 years. My question is: how long will it last?

The Chinese economy has been growing at over 10% for many years, so the fundamentals seem strong. But, has any market gone straight up without temporary setbacks along the way? Not that I know of.

Chinese investors have been piling into the market any way they can. Some are even borrowing against their homes to participate in the frenzy. Does that type of mania end well?

In addition, China is not fully a market economy, and it’s still run by a communist party which doesn’t fully recognize human rights, much less voting rights. And those government folks are trying like crazy to slow down the stock market now. Do you think they’ll just give up and join the party? Not likely.

Timing the market seems like a fools errand to me, but markets in that type of frenzy seldom end well. I’m neither long nor short Chinese stocks, but after the 10% drop in the Chinese stock market last February, I can’t help but wonder how the Chinese stock market may impact other world markets. I don’t know when, but at some point, we’ll find out.

Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, financial, tax, or legal advice. The opinions, estimates and projections contained herein are subject to change without notice. Information throughout this blog has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, but such accuracy cannot be guaranteed.