One of the most prominent names in perma-bear predicting, Nouriel Roubini, just advised that you buy stocks for a period of about 2 years. At that time, the professor expects a global economic depression to rock the world markets.
There’s a great deal of irony in hearing “Dr. Doom” discuss riding a stock wave higher through 2014. For one thing, his revelation is coming to light at all-time record highs for U.S. equities. And he recommendsÂ allocating cash to the broader market at the start of May?
Secondly, Roubini should be more famous for his inaccurate calls than the one that the media claim that he got right. According to many writers, Roubini predicted the 2008 collapse. Yet his bearish prognostications occurred throughout the 2004-2007 period in which holding cash or short-selling assets would have harmed one’s portfolio. Perhaps more devastating, a follower of Roubini would have suffered mightily in the four-plus years since March of 2009. And now “Dr. Doom” essentially acknowledges (albeit inadvertently) that the central banks can inflate assets better than he can predict their price direction?
Roubini may deserve his guru status for his famous 2008 “call.” Then again, he was 3-4 years early on the reaction of market-based securities to the real estate-based recession. If market-based investments are beaten to a pulp in March of 2015, as he now contends, it will constitute circumstances where Roubini would be 6 years premature. Sadly, the media would certainly trot the well-educated economist out for an encore.
In essence, the media are at fault for propping up personalities. The public has a need for heroes and the media fill the void. However, the truth about what the markets may or may not do is far less stimulating; that is, nobody has any idea what will occur or when it will happen.
It follows that an investor needs to look for opportunity where reasonable assumptions fuel well-reasoned expectations of gain. Simultaneously, he/she must maintain an exit plan for avoiding the bulk of a disastrous turn of events. With or without Nouriel Roubini, the future always has a period of reckoning.
Looked at another way, is the professor incorrect when he asserts that high yield bonds are dramatically overpriced? Not if one looks at high yield bonds in a vacuum. On the surface, 5%-6% for “junk” is unattractive, but they may not be unattractive when 10-year U.S. treasuries yield a paltry 1.65%; the spread of 350-400 basis points is in line with historical spreads. As long as treasury yields remain depressed, I might still use PIMCO 0-5 Year High Yield (HYS) or SPDR Short-Term High Yield (SJNK). After all, I am always prepared to liquidate an exchange-traded tracker if technical and fundamental trends shift.
Nor is Roubini incorrect to say that global growth concerns should have an adverse impact on equities and their lofty valuations. Yet the reality remains… the central banks have been successful at pushing real estate and market-based risk assets higher. “Dr. Doom” should have recognized the trend about 4 years sooner.
I may continue dollar-cost averaging into income ETFs like PIMCO 0-5 Year High Yield (HYS), Market Vectors Preferred excl Financials (PFXF), PowerShares Senior Loan (BKLN) and PowerShares Sovereign (PCY). However, with “Professor Perma-Bear” effectively issuing a “Buy signal” on equities, I am even more convinced that extra cash should wait for a legitimate pullback in stock ETFs.
Do I have a “wish list?” Certainly. If a healthy correction comes to fruition… and a dose of fear grips the markets… I would look to dividend stand-outs like Vanguard Dividend Growth (VIG) and GlobalX SuperDividend (SDIV). I would also be intrigued by non-cyclical-heavy investments like WisdomTree Equity Income (DHS), iShares High Dividend Equity (HDV), Market Vectors Retail (RTH) and/or PowerShares DJ Pharmaceuticals (PJP).
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