In an article I wrote for our subscribers over the weekend, I noted that toward the end of a bull cycle, the market still goes up but many, ultimately giving way to most, stocks do not. That conundrum is explained because it is mostly the large-cap names always in the news (which have already moved up significantly) that see the greatest inflows. This is the phase in which previously skeptical or on-the-sidelines investors see nothing but great reports, earnings beats and, of course, Wall Street projections that say not only is the bull not fading, the next bull cycle is just getting started. This is when the somnambulists finally buy so they do not feel like they have missed the entire party.
Some people have short memories. Not everyone was investing during the ferocious decline at the turn of the millennium. No one investing today, however, likely escaped the 50% decline in the S&P 500 index between October 2007 and March 2009, when index funds were anathema to investors who saw everything they had made in the previous bull evaporate. Continue Reading »