Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wounded but Walking

I remember back a bunch of years to when I was the Editor of the Market Technicians Association newsletter and we were putting a cover story together about the bear market then in progress. I found a picture of a growling bear, one that I still see fairly regularly online by the way, and put it on the cover. The caption read, "Oh, no, now I am a contrary indicator."

Sure enough, the market soon found its bottom.

This was a brutal two weeks for me as an analyst. I won't claim any pain for the first week since I did see a bounce coming. However, like many, it was the sheer size of the move that had me running for the Mylanta (store brand, of course).

Was technical analysis worth anything? How come things are not working? Was my CMT a waste of effort? And why on Earth does anybody need any newsletter advice at all? Just follow your gut and away you go!

So I pondered getting out of the business as I do from time to time. I don't need this kind of headache. I'm already five chapters into my novel so it would be so much better to create something people would enjoy instead of open myself up to flaming emails about my articles.

Well, those five chapters were written in the early 1990s and I have not looked at them since. And I always get this way after a rough patch. However, I have no patent on rough patches. We all go through our own professional hell from time to time and somehow bounce back.

So why was I feeling extra blue? Was it the way my analysis was off the mark? Who is perfect with theirs?

Was it the way I'd get stopped out and only one day later the market turns in my favor? Please, nothing unique there.

Or the way the free market has been compromised by well intentioned but poorly designed intervention? Or that one nameless company turned the whole thing to its advantage to make billions?

Jealous? Sure. Bewildered? Definitely. Ready to quit? Yes, but I won't. The market is clearly not what it was even a decade ago and we have to adapt. That will probably be a lot of fun - learning new things and evolving as an analyst.

I will take my feelings as a contrary indicator. Every time I start to think that maybe everyone else is right and I am totally wrong things change for the better.

My message is that so many people are making so many arguments that this is a new bull market that the opposition seems to be smothered. Here is a quote from a professional chat list I follow:

Quote - "I see much of the same..."informed" people around me getting long....perennial stock market losers going into bonds and cash." End Quote

It was an overwhelming consensus.

To quote my departed friend and colleague Mike Epstein, "Fade the list." When the pros call the public losers then then we've got a good sentiment indicator based on arrogance.

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