Bears Adopt a "Wait and See" Attitude
The opinions of the investment advisors with free newsletters and web site market forecasts had an unusual degree of unanimity last weekend, not that it does anyone much good. They agree that the current market is difficult. Whereas the previous weekend the FIFTI1 (Free Information From The Internet) Index from www.InvestorsInternet.com had an equal number of bulls and bears in the short-term, this week the bears have changed their views to "wait and see".
The largest change from last week in the FIFTI Index is the reduction in the number of short-term bears and the increase in those with a neutral opinion, or with a "wait and see" attitude. The percentage of short-term bears dropped from 38% last week to 16%, while the neutral opinions rose from 38% last week to 55% this week. The percentage of bulls increased only slightly.
Despite all the problems to which the bears point, the market will not go down. Indeed, Friday's up thrust scared many of the bears to change their market views to neutral for this week.
A lot has been written about the increased volatility of the market this past month, and Friday's 171 point jump in the Dow is given as evidence of that. In terms of the change between the open and close, last week was volatile, clocking a 62% increase in the weekly change between daily opens and closes over the average since Labor Day. However, in terms of daily high to low changes the week was very average. It had a 3% greater change than average.
So it is not the volatility that is making the short-term bears hesitate to express and up or down opinion.
There was a succinct analysis of the market in the Jaguar Trading newsletter from www.worldwidetraders.com on Monday. The newsletter analyzed the market's trend, cycle, expansion/contraction and momentum for different timeframes and concluded that there was no alignment at the present time. That's the problem.
Although there may be uncertainty in the short-term, the investment advisors with free newsletters and web site market forecasts are clear about the medium and long-term. The bearish opinions in the FIFTI Index increased from 36% last week to 50% this week. The bulls dropped from 41% last week to 25% this week. The percentage of long-term bears also increased.
There is a diverse set of reasons for being bullish or bearish. Bulls cite the strong economy, the 3.8% annual rate of growth of GDP, strong business investment that rose at annual rates of 10.9% and 8.9% in the second and third quarters, consumer spending that is still rising, strong company earnings and the drop in the price of oil and gasoline. The fact that the end of the year is usually a strong season for stocks is a commonly quoted argument. However, Mike Burk, writing at www.safehaven.com, points out that though November is usually a good month it is not good in the first year of the Presidential cycle.
The bears have their arguments too. This week they have added the higher degree of political uncertainty, increases in mortgage defaults in California for the first time in three years, and the poor performance of the Semiconductor Index to their list that already included:
- the Fed raising the interest rate
- rising inflation and higher energy prices
- tighter monetary conditions
- risk of geopolitical events
- falling consumer confidence
- high levels of public and private debt, a topping housing market and spending increasing spending faster than the growth of income.
- company profits at levels that cannot be sustained and lower forecasts for the next quarter and 2006.
The key to determining the winner of the argument is timing. The economy and the market always cycle between good and bad. The question is, "how good or how bad will it be at what point in the future?" To that there is no agreement between the bulls and the bears, but now that the Fed policy announcement of November 1 is out of the way perhaps the "wait and see" attitudes will change.
1The FIFTI Index is based on Free Information From The Internet, and in particular, on advice provided by fifty independent newsletter writers selected from the book "The Investor's Free Internet".