Shiller: Another Bear Market Could Happen

The kind of panic that ensure thirty years ago, on October 19th, 1987, could happen again. This according to Yale professor Robert Shiller in his recent New York Times article. While Shiller points out that regulatory and technological progress has ruled out an exact repeat of that day, the results of a survey he conducted within four days of the event revealed that “fundamentally, that market crash was a mass stampede set off through viral contagion.”  Shiller explains that after sending out 3,250 questionnaires to both individual and institutional investors, he found evidence that differed sharply from the findings reported by […]

In a High Market, Investors Should Prepare for a Downturn

A recent article by Jeff Sommer of The New York Times poses the question: “Is this the top of the market? Is it time to sell?” “Simply put,” writes Sommer, “my answer is this: If you’re a stock investor, be prepared for a major decline, not because one is necessarily coming soon but because no one can predict where the markets are heading.” The article points out that the current economic expansion is the third longest since 1854, and that the low volatility has been “almost supernatural.” Regarding the risk of a decline, Sommer offers comments by Vanguard principal Fran […]

George Soros is Feeding the Bear

In recent years, 85-year-old billionaire George Soros hasn’t done much investing of his own. He has instead focused on public philanthropy and public policy (and is a large contributor to the super PAC backing Hillary Clinton). That changed earlier this year when he began spending more time directing trades at his firm Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family. Some close to him say that his resurfacing has been triggered by worry about the global economy and subsequent market shifts. This maudlin view has darkened even further over the last 6 months due […]

Sonders: Market Most Likely in Post-Echo Bull Phase

Liz Ann Sonders, chief strategist for Charles Schwab, outlines the four phases of the stock market over a full market cycle. Since 1960, the market can be seen following the four distinct periods: recession bear, post-recession bull, echo bear and post-echo bull. Recession Bear: these are the big bear markets, usually lasting a few years and averaging declines of 30%. The 2007-2009 bear market, as Sonders points out, fell by 54% so that was a much larger loss than after. Post Recession Bull: this is the immediate 1-2 years following the bear market. There tends to be a large snapback […]

We May Be More Than Half through A Bear Market

Mark Hulbert writes in MarkWatch: “not infrequently, a bear-market declaration often amounts to little more than closing the barn door after the horses have left.” A bear market is typically defined by a 20% or greater decline in stock prices. In the last U.S. bear market (2011), for example, “the early-October day when the S&P 500 fell to 20% below its late-April high turned out to be the day that the bear market breathed its last gasp.” Because the average length of a bear market since 1900 is 403 days, “even if it is eventually determined that a bear market […]