7 signs we're near a market top, and what to do
Wall Street has been reliving the 1960s, but the 'Go-Go' era is about to end.
By Michael Sincere, MarketWatch
Remember March 4, 2014 -- a day that will go down in Wall Street history as the beginning of the end for this latest bull market, which is celebrating its fifth birthday.
On March 4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) rose 227 points based on a report that Russian troops were pulling back from Ukraine's border. This "news" lit the market on fire, a sign that the market is heading into a mania stage where it doesn't take much to boost stocks.
Indeed, nowadays instead of the "Nifty Fifty" stocks that defined the late 1960s market, we have the likes of Facebook (FB), Tesla Motors (TSLA), and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) -- the new new things.
Can the market go higher? Sure, although the higher it goes, the more dangerous it becomes. Often, during the latter stages of a bull market, the market separates itself from reality and appears to be on another planet.
Such red flags are everywhere:
1. Retail investors have been pouring money into stock mutual funds. The fear of missing out on the sixth year of a bull market has created something close to a buying panic. Although not as maniacal as we saw in 1999, the stock cheerleaders are back and rooting for their stocks and mutual funds to go higher -- just like they always do before a crash or bear market.
2. The Investor's Intelligence survey is concerning. The closely watched II survey shows a low proportion of bears (less than 20 percent), which some have pointed out is the lowest proportion since just before the 1987 crash.
3. Sentiment indicators are pessimistic. The VIX volatility index, the put-call ratio and other major sentiment indicators suggest that investors and traders are getting complacent. Apparently, market participants believe that the Fed, or their fund manager, will protect them in a worst-case scenario.
4. Fundamentals are being ignored. Obscenely high price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios are passed over, along with soft economic readings (i.e. GDP and ISM). When the fundamentals are weaker than expected, the weather is blamed.
5. The stock market crash of 2008 has been forgotten. Investors forget, but the market never does. Those who do not heed the lessons of the past will once again learn a painful lesson.
6. The Nasdaq is soaring. The three-year chart of the Nasdaq ($COMPX) has gone nearly parabolic, hitting a 14-year high of 4,351 on March 4. It's the Go-Go years all over again. (And that late 1960s bull market ended with the 1973-74 bear market.)
7. Fear and greed are taking over. When the market reaches the tipping point (and we're getting closer), investors and traders buy "ATM" (anything that moves). The fear of missing out causes a buying panic.
What to do now
There have been numerous crash predictions over the last five years. As a result, many investors have closed their ears, and who can blame them? The market has ignored the warnings and continued to go up. One thing about crashes: They can't be predicted (but it won't stop people from trying). However, it is possible to recognize a dangerous market, which is what we have now.
The market is wearing no clothes
Just like the emperor, the market is wearing no clothes. Right now, many people see only what they want to believe. It's been a long time since investors felt full-throated fear, and many have forgotten what it feels like. The panic to buy will be replaced by the urgency to get out at any price. No one can know what will cause perceptions to change, but they will.
At the moment, emerging markets are in deep trouble, and what is happening in Ukraine didn't help. Nevertheless, the CEOs of several major brokerage firms have urged investors to "go long" emerging markets because they are so "cheap." Once again, these well-educated salesmen are wrong. Emerging markets will recover one day, but not soon. Urging investors to buy on the dip is disgraceful.
Sit and wait?
If we are in the mini-mania stage of the bull market, the market will continue to go higher based on rumors, hope, and greed. Sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the bull market to top out takes tremendous discipline. Trying to capture that final 5 percent can be costly if you get the timing wrong (and most people do). Be prepared for increased volatility as we get closer to the end.
Of course, it's not easy to sit on the sidelines when everyone else seems to be making money. Although many investors are dreaming of another 30 percent return this year, the odds are good that it will be a difficult year. Yes, during a mania stage anything is possible, but with each passing week, the clock is ticking.
Those who have studied market history have seen this story before, and the ending is always the same. No matter how many warnings you give, no many how you urge people to avoid buying the speculative Go-Go stocks and move to the sidelines, few listen until it is too late.
More from MarketWatch
I've had a great run the last 2 years so now is the time to lock in some profits and slowly move to cash.
Two things I’ve noticed about the stock market over the years:
1 - It can’t go down until all the greater fools have bought in.
2 - It’s kind of like a playground slide; the ride down is always a lot faster than the walk up.
"On March 4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 227 points based on a report that Russian troops were pulling back from Ukraine's border. This "news" lit the market on fire, a sign that the market is heading into a mania stage where it doesn't take much to boost stocks."
Was that really a sign that the market is heading into a mania stage or was that more of a recovery from the 197 point drop the day before? The net 2 day move was no more than 30 points to the positive. or less than 0.1% over two days. The bulls definitely appear to be storming in and creating irrational exuberance.
Goldman Sacks is considering hiring Vandersloot as their CEO. His freeloading, aggressive, narcissistic, evil, ruthless, psychopathic style is a natural and ideal match for Wall Street success.
So whenever Folks continually attempt to hide the Real Risks of Stocks, you know we are are likely to be near a Top, then anything else. There was an Article yesterday that stated Global DEBT has risen 40% since the Great Recession to over $100Trillion. So we are not nearing a Bubble, we are in a Bubble.
We Failed People: And We Failed Miserably..
This took me a long time to understand...
The intentions were good "I Believe" but the facts are "Our Government" in order to sway the
outcome of a "Market Gone Bad" didn't factor into the equation that those same people
who allowed the stock market to falter weren't "Carpet Baggers" and "Grave Robbers" to begin with..
I remember going to the bank, when the market first took a nose dive, and all around me were people taking money out of their accounts and even closing their safety deposit boxes. Do you remember when the FDIC was at 150,000.00 dollars and the government changed it over night to 250,000.00 dollars in order to stay off a stampede of withdrawals.
Do you remember the hundreds of billions of dollars WE gave to the banks with no strings attached. (The money was given in good faith in hopes that they would use it to give out Small Business Loans) but instead the Banks just went out and bought up the weaker banks in order to build their own infrastructure..
We could go on and list other times where we have trusted "Big Business" to do the right thing or even our own "Government" to pull the right strings, BUT it just didn't happen. AND IT WON'T.
Greed and the Greedy, Self and the Selfishness RULES..
AND IT WILL NOT CHANGE NOR CAN IT...
Those who are CEO's and Government Figures and Heads of States understand , and Dear God don't forget about Russia who's own economy is on the brink of disaster, they Know.. We Are In Over Our Heads....
And when that happens you either "Drown" or "You Start Swimming".
So, Has the Market reached its peak? NO... and why?
Because the dollar isn't a dollar any more. Inflation has been thrown sideways and crossways upside down.. What you believed to be isn't any longer.. Money has no value and neither does the Stock Market.. It can Go to 20,000 points in a blink of an eye.. why??BECAUSE IT'S POWER..
Some of you will understand this and will go on to be fruitful and multiply and the rest will just go on, tappen at those little letters on your keyboard, watching the world pass them by, never knowing what Hit Them..
And You'll Be Broke.. not just wanting a hand out, but needing it, just to survive.. There's more people out there who missed the "Greatest Bull Market" the world has ever seen, then those who got into it from the get go and made Hundreds of Thousands if not Millions of Dollars..
And That Growth, In That Short of a Time, has created the "Mother Of Inflation" ( Of Which The World Has Never Known).......
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Wednesday session on a mixed note with small caps displaying relative strength. The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and Russell 2000 (+0.4%) registered modest gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%) and S&P 500 (+0.01%) underperformed.
Despite the mixed finish, the key indices traded higher across the board at the start of the session after the advance reading of second quarter GDP surpassed estimates (4.0% versus Briefing.com ... More
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