The Deipnosophist

Where the science of investing becomes an art of living

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Location: Summerlin, Nevada, United States

A private investor for 20+ years, I manage private portfolios and write about investing. You can read my market musings on three different sites: 1) The Deipnosophist, dedicated to teaching the market's processes and mechanics; 2) Investment Poetry, a subscription site dedicated to real time investment recommendations; and 3) Seeking Alpha, a combination of the other two sites with a mix of reprints from this site and all-original content. See you here, there, or the other site!

31 July 2009

Rising prices equals... a bear market?

No, that is not my analysis, but the bears' constant growls.

C'mon, we all know the refrain by now: for the past 5 months, with each new up tick, the bears stated flatly that the market was one step closer to resuming its plummet; with each new down tick, the bears stated flatly and gleefully that disaster was upon us. All their failed chart and technical analysis: the trend line breaks that spelled disaster but did not follow through; the negative channels, the waves, the failure patterns (my favorite was the recent head and shoulders top that everyone saw), etc, etc, ad infinitum.

And yet the market's rise has been resolute and enduring; 5 months now and 40+% from the lows. Now the bears tell us they told readers in March 2009 of the bull signal, even though their every subsequent utterance was "SELL!" Richard Russell, never a perma-anything but always late to a price move, finally threw in the towel last week, and declared a bull market... before the bear market re-asserts itself.

I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, so long as it is informed. And the bears are no dummies. They saw correctly the hellacious decline that began last September (2008). They miss, though, that the terrible decline of 2008 was the ending of a cyclical bear market within a secular range-trading market in existence since April 1998 -- not the beginning of a secular bear market. But that analysis happens to be my opinion -- informed or otherwise -- and my thesis since mid-1999, when I suggested to investors to, "Shatter your assumptions." (Give up their bullish mindset.)

I have no idea why the bears miss the obvious, but they do. Of course, different opinions make markets (clearing prices). God love 'em. But for the bears to become revisionist, now, as though they saw this rising market all along...

I mean not to toot my own horn because neither you nor I care about what was, but what shall be. As a statement of historical perspective, though, I have shown repeatedly why the plummet of September / October 2008 qualifies as a panic (The Great Panic of 2008, I call it), and ended in October 2008 precisely where and when it should. I showed repeatedly during q4 2008 and Q1 2009 how the market was bottoming; one post even detailed each step of the process. I mentioned in November 2008 that the market would begin to melt up after 1 Jan 2009, and provided reasons why. All my comments prove presciently correct -- but due only to the facts of how markets trade. And so it goes.

Yeah, and so it goes. I hope rising markets convince you to focus more on investment opportunities, and less on the analysis of market trends. Fact is, most investors simply know not how to identify and delineate correctly trend (lines) and execute flawless pattern recognition and analysis; recent history points out that reality. Sure, timing is a crucial component of consistent portfolio success, but nowhere near as critical as finding the best companies in (market) leading groups and sectors, which stocks themselves act as engines to the markets' caboose.

I know, I know, I begin to sound like a broken record. (btw, great band; Broken Records, that is!)

Full Disclosure: Long the market via several market leading investments.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist


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