Friday, January 05, 2018

What me worry, market roars ahead

The equity market has long been seen, over the medium term and long term, as a reflection both of the brightest investors(so-called lead steers) and a consensus built by the weighing machine of market value.  That goes for both the overall market and for individual stocks over time.  What's going on now is a wonder to behold as gains just accumulate like the driven snow outside.  There's a problem though.  While looking at the market in a financial valuation vacuum this rise still works, if one simultaneously looks at the unraveling of years of work on U.S. foreign policy, the backing away from responsible norms of behavior expected by and counted on by others, and the willingness to allow one blowhard to take over our country, the "lead steers" appear to be ignoring what is happening.

What is happening can crush the market.  Leaving the world open for dire events and in fact putting in place the hair triggers to cause them will in no blankety blank way be good for the stock market.  It will divert huge amount of assets to unproductive and destructive purposes.

Listening to and reading market prognostications, there are discussions of old issues that seem beside the point.  Does anyone really want to debate whether the shrinkage of public shares traded due to buybacks and due to private markets is or is not the reason for the persistent market rise.  It is a stupid discussion.  It does raise stock prices but it does not create economic value.  It exacerbates wealth inequality.  Companies plowing back their earnings into raising their stock price through buybacks rather than investing in new business opportunities is a drive headlong into a dead end.

From this perspective, "market milestones" are more something to be understood rather than celebrated.  First things first.  No one should expect that thought process from cable business news or from the retail brokerage marketers.  But DARN, where is that efficient market where brighter minds are somehow presumed to be a leveler of this behavior.

We are benefiting from this market, we are participating in it by still carefully looking for opportunities, but trust in market equilibrium is fraying.  Whether that is a financial valuation concern, an outgrowth of this toxic administration that is aided by its punk apologists, or a concern about the possibility of a blindly coordinated global catastrophe, this trust issue is real.

So that's why CHEERS ABOUT MARKET MILESTONES do not come easy.


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