Here's my analysis of the U.S. stock market. Not having to study anymore for CFA exam or dissertation does leave me with a lot more free time.
First we have very high valuations by historical standards, which imply unrealistic expectations for a recovery in profit margins and revenues (see Bill Hester, as well as various PIMCO commentaries on profit margins in what they call the "New Normal" economic landscape). Thus, long-term returns from buying equities at this level are likely to be low, at best, and this kind of valuations imply a lot of downside potential in case of renewed economic problems.
Second, on the technicals front we have a quite overbought condition (see this and this).
Third, on the economics front, we have an inventory rebuilding growth boost that will probably fade by next spring, and a still-climbing unemployment rate which, together with a wave of Alt-A and Option-ARM mortages problem, imply renewed stress on banks and households.
Fourth, we also have Fed officials becoming more hawkish in the face of a falling dollar.
All in all, not a pretty picture.
I would wait to see deterioration in market internals and breadth before shorting this market though: you don't want to be short a climbing market that is exhibiting Soros reflexivity. Other signs of a top would include: increasing corporate bond yields / CDS spreads, a climbing dollar (hopefully accompanied by a drop in treasury yields), a non-confirmation (divergence) between the Dow Industrials and the Transports, relative underperformance of financial stocks, etc.
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1 year ago