The stock market has remained resilient this year in the face of multiple financial crises around the globe, frustrating bearish investors who have been waiting for the “Big One.”
Like seismologists who anticipate the cataclysmic earthquake that destroys California, skeptics of the rally haven’t seen a correction in almost four years, writes Paul R. La Monica
, digital reporter for CNNMoney. A correction is a 10 percent drop in stock prices.
“Since October 2011, the market has rebounded every time dips threatened to become full-blown corrections. That may be happening once again,” he writes. “Grexit fears rattled investors ... but not so much to send stocks down 10 percent. Worries about China have not yet led to a big sell-off. Neither have concerns about the strong dollar, plunging oil prices, the likelihood of a Fed rate hike or ho-hum earnings reports.”
The market’s resilience belies some warning signs, La Monica writes, pointing to the CNNMoney Fear and Greed Index, which shows signs of Extreme Fear.
“There are more stocks hitting 52-week lows than highs in recent months. And the trading volume for stocks going down is higher than the volume for stocks going up,” he says. “What's more, some highly cyclical industries, such as industrials, chips and railroads, are already in a correction.”
U.S. stocks are providing signals that were also seen before major declines in the past four decades, said John Hussman, president of Hussman Investment Trust.
The star fund manager said investor complacency and expensive valuations are bad enough while the S&P 500 index is within 3 percent of its record high. The market’s dependence on a dwindling number of stocks is even more alarming, he said in a July 27 commentary.
He cited the metric among the indicators that foreshadowed declines after peaks in 1972, 2000 and 2007:
- Less than 27 percent of investment advisers polled by Investors Intelligence who say they are bearish.
- Valuations measured by the Shiller price-to-earnings ratio are greater than 18 times.
- Less than 60 percent of S&P 500 stocks above their 200-day moving averages.
- Record high on a weekly closing basis.
“The most recent warning was the week ended July 17, 2015,” Hussman said. “It's often said that they don't ring a bell at the top, and that's true in many cycles. But it's interesting that the same ‘ding’ has been heard at the most extreme peaks among them.”
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