Monday, May 12, 2008

Possible explanation for the mother of disconnects

Anantha Nageswaran who writes the wonderful column Bare Talk in Mint had an article titled " The mother of disconnects". He was puzzled at the disconnect between US economic news and US stock markets. I have been puzzled too, but here is a possible explanation, that I can think, for the market behaving the way it is.

1) Most people have bought into the theory that one needs to invest in the stock market with a long term view. So bad news is not getting as many people to flee the markets as it would have a few years ago. So fewer sellers than expected.
2) The liquidity that the Fed is pumping into the system is going into the commodities & stock market, keeping both elevated.
3) In ordinary circumstance, this excess liquidity should have caused the dollar to nosedive. The presence of Central banks ( primarily PBoC) is keeping the dollar from depreciating quickly. Instead it is falling at a pace which China ( and possibly other countries ) are comfortable with and which will allow them to adjust without great social upheaval.
4) What else can one invest in ? Overvalued bonds ? Fast depreciating real estate ? Keep it as cash and watch raging inflation eat it ? Short the market & find that the market is irrational longer than you can be solvent ?

BTW people waiting for the "great crash" may be disappointed. It might be a slow grind down. Waiting with cash ( US dollar) is not going to help either ( Inflation !). Agri commodities seem to be in their own bubble. Investing in gold is fraught with danger ( Not much danger if the Fed continues its current " to heck with inflation" stance) as Fed can quickly change its stance ( Given a pliant media, it will also be sold as the very thing that will end the inflation and therefore is great for America). Oil is possibly the only asset class that may withstand any adverse Fed policy. If any of you know of any other way of preserving capital over the next couple of years,it would be wonderful if you me know about it.

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