Michael Lipper: secular bulls, your time is coming
We are setting up one of the great bull markets of our lifetimes, not in magnitude, but in length, says veteran investor.
by Michael Lipper on Nov 19, 2012 at 09:28
Two weeks ago I suggested that on a trading and cyclical basis one should sell on the Wednesday after the 2012 US election.
My thinking was based on the premise that the election would not provide a meaningful answer to the economic future of the US or to the rest of the world.
Since the election, on average six out of eight market sessions have recorded losses. This continues the trend for the last four weeks since the probabilities that the president would be elected rose, and the market average declined 5.66%.
What did the US election signify?
As this blog is increasingly being read by those who are not Americans, I should share with you my analysis of the election. (Readers from over 40 countries have joined our blog community.) In general, Americans have had a fear of government actions unless they are directly helped, and often vote by selecting the least objectionable candidate. This election was decided upon the basis of perceived personalities. There was no real focus on a perceived future.
Despite the victor’s view, there was no policy mandate given, as only a little over half of the potential voters voted and the spread in the popular vote was less than 3%. However, there were at least two clear implications that will affect the next election cycle that began on November 7th.
The first is that the Chicago machine is well trained in urban get out the vote campaigns and produced a much better result than the Boston-oriented management consultants who thought they were dealing with a corporate turnaround. The significance of this disparity is that winning politics is not just policy, but performance.
The second implication for the Republicans is that they need to select better candidates for the House and Senate. (Interesting enough, the Republicans were more successful in terms of races for governors, other state officers and state legislatures.)
Fiscal cliff or barrier mountains?
Those who want short and complete answers to complex problems speak in terms of a single fiscal cliff. I see the challenge as a series of difficult to solve barriers to a free floating economy.
The basic problem (which is not being discussed in the US and most other major countries) is that the governments are providing services to a population that is unwilling to commit to pay the bill. This is not a new phenomenon in the US. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury bemoaned this very same condition.
In Hamilton’s 1795 report to the Congress, he described the public’s desire for services, and their unwillingness to pay for them through higher taxes. The answer was to borrow the shortfall. However, as much as he tried, at the time Congress was unwilling to establish a specific plan to extinguish the debt.
Today we have the same problem. We are facing the threat of sequestration, which will automatically raise tax rates and cut both military and discretionary spending. In addition to sequestration there is the self-imposed debt limit, which will likely result in a credit rating drop.
On Friday there was a happy talk session at the White House where the congressional leadership appeared in public to accept some broad but not defined principles of cooperation.
Today's top headlines
More about this:
More from us
- Michael Lipper: lessons from November's political changes
- Michael Lipper: two certainties to come from US election
- Michael Lipper takes on the 'new normal'