Are We Partying Like its 1999?

By Jack M. Forehand (@practicalquant) —  One of the most common comparisons I hear for the current state of the stock market is the bubble of the late 90s. With the market seemingly setting new highs every day, valuations stretched, and technology stocks leading the way, there appear to be many similarities on the surface. When you look deeper, however, there are also some clear differences. Given that the 90s rally ended on a bad note and that many predict the same ending to the current bull market, I wanted to take a look at the similarities and differences between […]

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 […]

Morgan Housel: Discomfort the Key to Investing Success

 A key component of becoming a successful investor, writes Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund, is the “ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” Investors, he says, “have a fascination with no-brainers, obvious decisions, and easy money. The phrases should be chapter titles in a book on the ease of deluding yourself.” He argues that finding well-performing investments requires above-average intelligence but also the willingness to “endure more discomfort and uncertainty than others.” Housel cites a comment by former Benchmark partner Andy Rachleff: “What most people don’t realize is that you don’t make money if you’re right in consensus. The only way […]

Zweig Talks Color and Investor Behavior

New research shows that color can have a significant influence on investor behavior, writes Jason Zweig in a recent Wall Street Journal article. According to Zweig, researchers have found that “seeing red has a drastic effect on how people view investments.” One part of the research, says Zweig, shows that when investors looked at charts of stocks in the S&P 500 index with falling prices and predicted how the shares would perform in the subsequent six months, “those who saw charts in red, rather than black, projected significantly lower returns.” The findings, says Zweig, supports economist Richard Thaler’s theory that […]

Morgan Housel Explains the Lure of Pessimism

“Every past market crash looks like an opportunity, but every future market crash looks like a risk,” writes Morgan Housel in a recent blog for Collaborative Fund. Housel offers insights as to why investors tend to attach more to negative thoughts than to positive ones, why pessimism is more “seductive” than optimism. Pessimism, he writes, “can be hard to distinguish from critical thinking and is often taken more seriously than optimism, which can be hard to distinguish from salesmanship and aloofness.” According to Daniel Kahneman, 2002 Nobel Laureate for his work in the field of behavioral economics: “Organisms that treat […]