November 1, 2013
It's all beginning to fade into a distant memory, even though it was but weeks ago. This was it, the end of a bull market that began in 2009. We had a government that was shut down and the debt ceiling looming only inches above our heads. But like Indiana Jones we barrel-rolled under the closing wall of stone with a split second left to reach back and snag our hat. We watched as both stocks and bonds sold off in tandem in anticipation of the Fed ending the stimulus that some believed to be the life blood that props up an otherwise anemic market. And in case it wasn't interesting enough, let's throw in a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria.
And now, just a short time later, we count our fingers and toes and realize they're all still there. How could this be? How are we back to putting in new highs every other day? To begin to understand you have to separate events that make for good TV from the real forces that drive the markets. In the short-term these wildly bearish headlines in the mainstream media caused an increase in volatility, yes. But let's take a look at some facts that might not help boost TV ratings but have boosted asset prices.
First, the Fed has made it clear that they would rather begin tapering too late than too early. While tapering too soon could cause a lot of damage to our economy, tapering a bit late is probably of little consequence. They have stated quite often that the triggers for an end of their easing are tied closely to unemployment and/or inflation stats that we are a long way off from achieving.
Next, let's look at company earnings. As of 10/25/13 about 50% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings for the third quarter. Year over year growth is around 8% and nearly 70% of those companies beat analyst expectations. 50% have beat revenue expectations.
The problem is these last few sentences are just boring numbers. They don't help sell ad time for networks and are much less exciting than wars, political theater and end-of-days predictions. But I like boring. Boring is how we make money, a little at a time. Two steps forward, one step back, repeat. This is the key to long-term success in reaching long-term goals. It's not that everything you see or hear in the media is unimportant. You just need to develop a filter to attempt to separate what makes for exciting TV from what helps to feed a long-term trend in the markets.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).