The Bond Fallacy

The bond bandwagon has gotten pretty crowded these days, with big names like Rob Arnott and Gary Shilling both writing that bonds — not stocks — appear to be the best long-term investment vehicle. In his Return on Investment column for The Wall Street Journal, however, Brett Arends counters the arguments that the bond proponents (and in particular Arnott) have been raising. “Obviously bonds, especially Treasurys, held up well during last year’s crisis,” writes Arends. “And they can make an important part of a portfolio, especially at the right price. But anyone hoping for a repeat of the last thirty […]

BlackRock’s Doll: S&P Earnings Estimates Too Low; Market Bottoming Process Ending

BlackRock Vice Chairman Bob Doll tells CNBC that, while the economy isn’t good, “some [analysts] have gone too far to the negative side,” and says that those analysts who have estimated $40 in per-share S&P 500 earnings for 2009 “are going to have to raise their numbers.” “Two months ago, it looked like a black hole,” Doll said. “Now, we have a much more balanced picture.”

Wharton Prof Duel: Siegel vs. Stambaugh

Several weeks back we highlighted a new study that found stocks are actually more risky in the long run than they are in the short run. Today in an interview posted on the University of Pennsylvania’s Knowledge@Wharton web site, two Wharton School professors — Robert Stambaugh, one of that study’s co-authors, and Jeremy Siegel — talk about many of the issues the study raises for stock investors, as well as the current market conditions. Among the particularly interesting parts of the interview: Siegel says that bonds and other asset classes might get more risky over the long run, and Stambaugh […]

Yardeni’s 12 Reasons for Optimism

Yes, the news this morning is filled with swine flu and a bigger-than-expected first-quarter GDP drop, but Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research — who has a pretty good track record of economic forecasting, including his solid calls on the last recession recovery in 2003 — is offering several reasons for economic optimism. (A tip of the cap to The Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel for highlighting this.) In an email to clients, Yardeni cited a dozen such reasons. A few of the highlights: In the U.S., consumer confidence rebounded during April. The 4/28 Financial Times reported that the high yield […]

The Great Depression “25-Year Recovery” Myth

If you’re worried about stocks taking a period of many, many years to recover following the recent market plunge, Mark Hulbert offers some insightful — and encouraging — news in The New York Times. While many have cited the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average took 25 years to get back to its pre-Great-Depression highs as reason to worry that the coming market recovery could take a upwards of 10 or even 20 years, Hulbert says the 25-year Depression recovery figure is misleading for a number of reasons. In reality, he says, it took only four-and-a-half years after the […]

Arnott: Value Stocks Priced at or below Depression Levels

Researcher and money manager Rob Arnott has made a lot of headlines lately with his focus on the bond market, but in yesterday’s Financial Times he keyed in on another asset class — and it’s one that he says is extremely cheap right now: deep value stocks. “Most investors,” writes Arnott, “do not yet realise that today’s spread between growth and value, on most measures, is nearly as wide as it was at the peak of the tech bubble. But this time it is the value stocks that are the extreme outliers.” In the tech bubble, he says, typical growth […]

Tilson, Heins, and Recency Bias

How did so many investors and analysts fail to recognize the looming economic and stock market crises in recent years? In their latest Forbes column, Whitney Tilson and John Heins say that “recency bias” is a big reason — and a major challenge facing all investors. “One of the more insidious investor biases is a natural tendency to assume that the future will look like the recent past,” write Tilson and Heins in explaining recency bias (sorry no link — the article is available only in Forbes magazine and is not online). “The best investors don’t fall into this trap.”

Barron’s Top Advisors

Barron’s has unveiled its annual “Top 100 Financial Advisors” feature, with the new #1 being Gregory Vaughan of Morgan Stanley in Menlo Park, California — and the theme of the article being how these advisors are rethinking their approaches given the recent market meltdown. The top advisors “are giving diversification a thorough rethinking,” Barron’s Suzanne McGee writes. “It’s not as simple as owning a bunch of different investments. For example, there’s ‘tactical diversification,’ or moving swiftly to take advantage of price moves in particular markets.” This video offers a good summary of what Barron’s found was on the mind of […]

Biggs vs. Mauldin: Will The Rally Hold?

The big question in the market these days is, of course, whether the current rally is really the start of a new bull run, or if it is another bear market head fake. And two interesting, differing takes on the topic come from top strategists Barton Biggs and John Mauldin. In a recent CNBC interview, hedge fund star Biggs says the rally could well be for real. As of mid-April, he saw 40 signs that the environment was starting to improve. Global manufacturing is improving, consumer demand is strengthening, new orders are up, and inventories have fallen to new lows, […]

Risk and Asset Allocation

In a piece written for Forbes’ Intelligent Investing section, David Serchuk today offers some interesting data on risk and portfolio management. One point made by several of those Serchuk interviewed is that asset allocation is a crucial, and often overlooked, key to managing risk. “The macro-picture here is that asset allocation remains an easy way to get to the core of your portfolio’s risk exposure, even though it gets relatively little attention in the financial media compared with earnings or, to use a more contemporary example, government bailout money,” writes Serchuk. Support for this idea comes from a study conducted […]

S&P’s Stovall: Retest in the Works

Sam Stovall, Standard & Poor’s chief investment strategist, offered some interesting data on whether this rally is for real in an interview with CNBC today. Stovall — who said back in March that the S&P 500 could rally 22 percent over the short term based on historical trends — says the market is due for a retest. “If history repeats itself, we would probably go through a retest,” he said. “We’re just at the beginning of the retest today.” Over the years, this sort of retest has averaged about 20 days from the recovery high and involved a 7 percent […]

After Successful Short Plays in ’08, Leuthold Now Bullish on U.S. Stocks

Another top strategist who made a bundle by shorting stocks in 2008 is now predicting big gains for U.S. equities in the near future. Steve Leuthold, manager of the Grizzly Short Fund, told Bloomberg recently that he thinks the S&P 500 will reach 1,100 by year-end. “This market was about as cheap as I’ve seen in my 45 years in this business,” said Leuthold, whose fund gained 74% last year as the markets tanked. “We’re probably going to see the economy start turning upward, not now but toward the end of the year. The market is a lead economic indicator, […]

Forester Sounding Bullish

Tom Forester — whose Forester Value Fund was the lone stock fund to make money in 2008 — tells MarketWatch that he’s now only holding a small portion of his portfolio in cash, has dropped his hedge positions, and sees more upside than downside in the market for the next three to five years. “It has certainly helped the fund’s performance that this self-proclaimed ‘low P/E buyer’ has no qualms about moving heavily into cash, or betting against the market if he believes stocks are overvalued, as he did through much of last year,” MarketWatch’s Jonathan Burton writes in discussing […]

A History of Resilience

The economic news has offered some rays of hope in the past few weeks — surprisingly good bank earnings, unemployment declines, improved capital-raising conditions for corporations — and the markets have responded. Whether the next few weeks will provide the same hopeful signals, however, remains to be seen. But whatever the short term brings, the U.S. will recover from the current crisis and move on to new heights — that’s one of the key issues I delve into in this week’s Validea Hot List newsletter. This isn’t blind optimism. It’s based on extensive historical data, much of which has been […]

Rogers: Diversification “A Scam”

Commodities guru Jim Rogers offers his take on the current state of the economy and stock market in an interview with BusinessWeek, saying that diversification is “a scam”, that the U.S. might be better off letting a couple big institutions fail now, and that commodities are the place to be — whether the world economy revives or not “Diversification,” Rogers says, “is something that stock brokers came up with to protect themselves, so they wouldn’t get sued [for making bad investment choices for clients]. Henry Ford never diversified, Bill Gates didn’t diversify. The way to get rich is to put […]