The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Air Pocket Ahead

02/04/2019

There are numerous pithy sayings about history, e.g., “Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it” — or, “history may not repeat itself, but at least it rhymes.”

There are also pithy sayings about market timing on Wall Street, e.g., “So goes January, so goes the year” — or, “the safest year of a presidential term is the third year.”

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be too smug about 2019.  The stock market is saying we should trust history, but the bond market is saying the opposite.

The stock market is doing great, because the Fed has signaled a more relaxed approach to raising interest rates, not because of increased earnings.  Plus, interest rates are failing in other countries, which signals more weakness abroad.  Once again, Japan has negative interest rates.  Most importantly, the slowdown in China is worse than expected.

Warren Buffett says his favorite holding period is “forever,” advocating that investors buy what they like and hold it until they don’t like it anymore, without regard to the market cycle or the antics on Pennsylvania Avenue.  No matter what politicians do, “this too will pass.”

December 31st is a long time from now . . .

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