I was driving to a nearby Home Depot to get curbside pickup of a new work table early this morning. On the way I started listening to Bloomberg Radio, something I almost always regret. Just shows everyone finds bad habits hard to break.
I heard an interview with an equity strategist from Credit Suisse, who had been very bearish all the way up from the March lows and who has just turned bullish. One tried-and-true Wall Street saying is that the bear market isn’t over until the last bull capitulates. This could be the analogue–the last bear turning bullish. The idea behind the last bull is that after him there’s no one left to create more selling. In today’s case, it’s that all of the possible fresh cash is finally coming out of hibernation.
At the same time, though “bullish,” this strategist thinks the stock market only has 3% upside. Overall, very weird. Despite that, the last bear throwing in the towel should give us pause.
Last night, I read an article that points out the very large performance differential between the NASDAQ and the Dow. Now, a hard-and-fast rule for me is that anyone who uses the Dow as a yardstick for evaluating equities shows, just from that fact, that he knows nothing about stocks. In that sense, then, the Dow has a strange sort of usefulness.
My observation is that even Dow worshipers have noticed the huge performance gap between innovative companies that serve the world and very mature firms that are closely tied to US GDP. Yet, a counter-trend rally seems unable to gather any steam. How is this possible? My answer is that the White House continues to surprise, in finding new ways to damage the domestic economy. Whether that’s the reason or not, the question is worth thinking through.