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Hussman Weekly: What worries me most

July 30, 2012

Investors sometimes ask what I worry about most from the perspective of our investment strategy. Do I worry that the Fed will initiate another round of QE and distort the markets to such an extent and duration that our approach will not capture new realities? Do I worry that government interventions have created a world where old economic rules and relationships no longer apply? Do I worry about the quality of government statistics or the potential for misreporting or seasonal adjustment distortions in the data we use? The answer is that all of these issues can exert a short-run influence on the course of our investment approach, but none of them alter the relationship between valuations and long-term returns, and I don’t expect any of them to significantly reduce the effectiveness of our strategy over the complete market cycle.

As I noted as the market approached its highs a few months ago, what I worry about most is that conservative investors will become impatient with maintaining a defensive position in a dangerous and elevated market - not because investment prospects have materially improved, but simply because short-lived runs of speculative relief seem too enticing to miss. Volatile but ultimately directionless periods of elevated valuations, as we saw in 2000-early 2001, 2007-early 2008, and which we’ve observed since April 2010, tend to exhaust defensive investors and encourage complacency toward market risk at the worst possible time.

Certainly, for our shareholders in Strategic Growth Fund, I’ve compounded this impatience, because our “miss” in 2009-early 2010 - which I would not expect to be repeated in future cycles even under identical conditions – blends in with our defensiveness since early-2010, which aside from a few differences related to option positions, I would expect to be repeated in future cycles under identical conditions. The result is one long period of defensiveness, which understandably leaves those unfamiliar with that 2009-early 2010 period with the assumption that our approach will never be constructive.

I view these weekly comments as something of a conversation with shareholders, so I do my best to address questions that come up more than once or twice in a short period of time. In Strategic Growth Fund, understanding performance in recent years is one of those questions, so I ask the indulgence of shareholders who have walked through this discussion before, and I hope that the comments are useful even for those that have. Thanks.

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Rating: 1.9/5 (7 votes)


Sww - 5 years ago    Report SPAM
What worry me most:

Hussman Strategic Growth Fund - HSGFX

Average Annual Total Returns for periods ended 6/30/121

1 Year -5.97%

3 Year -3.73%

5 Year -2.39%

10 Year 2.47%

"Strategic Growth" Fund???
JUDS1234567 - 5 years ago    Report SPAM
Look at the fund since inception has a good long term record.

Traderatwork - 5 years ago    Report SPAM
How do you tell a client that join 5 or 10 years ago: Please wait, I'll make money for you.

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