Monday, March 14, 2011

Paul Desmond's Market Musings

"On a fundamental basis, the fundamental factors are always different in every bull market or every bear market. But the technical factors are based upon something much simpler. They are based on human psychology. Investors tend to go from periods of extreme depression at market bottoms, to extreme elation at market tops. And there are always a different set of circumstances that help boost that change in psychology. But the range of human psychology remains pretty much the same. And we simply move from panic at market bottoms, fear at market bottoms, and finally we move to greed at market tops. And that is the limit of what technical analysis is really doing — measuring the psychology of investors regardless of events that may have inspired their bullishness or bearishness."

"You cannot time the market off of fundamental information, because the stock market operates off of expectations as to what is going to happen six months or nine months down the road. In other words, investors don't buy stocks because of what they know today. They buy because of what they think they are going to know six months or nine months from now. So the market is always ahead of the economy. And as a result, if you are trying to look at fundamental information, you are always too late."

"..if we were in the fall foliage season prior to winter, what we would tend to see in the trees up north, we'd start to see leaves dropping off the tree one at a time. And the stock market is very, very similar, that as you get into the latter stages of a bull market, individual stocks tend to peak out and begin to drop into their own individual bear markets, while there are still a lot of stocks continuing to advance. As the bull market becomes more and more mature, a greater number of individual stocks tend to fall off the trees, so to speak, and drift to the ground, whereas the investment community is not watching the leaves, they are watching the indexes."

"You have to be willing to buy in the face of bad news. By the same token, at market tops, the news is dominated by good news, and that is the time to watch out because if the news can't get any better then all it can do is get worse."

"..the important things for investors to realize is that market declines start out with complacency as being the most dominant emotion at that time. And the means that most people are half asleep, and they are just not paying attention. They don't think the markets can go down, so they don't think there is any need be watchful, but that is exactly when an investor needs to be particularly alert. The last stages of a decline, the very last couple of months of a market decline are the most intense, because that is when the panic sets in, and that is when it is absolutely essential that you are already out of the market. You surely don't want to go through that final stage."

Source: Q&A: Paul Desmond of Lowry's Reports

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