At the end of the day, there’s no other way to describe the current equity environment other than very difficult. Even companies that beat Wall Street expectations in second-quarter earnings can’t generate much in the way of enthusiasm for their stories.
Naturally, this makes the equity speculation business more difficult, with much longer time horizons for investment. It also means that investors are leaving the marketplace to do other things. This makes the investing landscape much more attractive with less market participants.
It’s highly likely that the stock market won’t get out of its current slump this year. It’s also likely that policy makers won’t be able to do anything to help the bear market. The system has to work itself out over time.
The Federal Reserve is caught between a rock and a hard place, because inflation is a real worry right now. It won’t want to raise interest rates for fear of killing off an already weak economy. In a way, it’s the perfect storm for monetary policy makers.
So, we’re left with Warren Buffett’s assessment of the economy. He reports that his businesses continue to experience more weakness in sales. This is particularly the case with his housing-related companies.
The way things are looking, slow economic times could be with us for another year or two. As for the stock market, it wants to see stabilization — stabilization in the housing market, the financial sector and inflation expectations. No new bull market can start without these issues being fixed.
It’s a good time to be a buyer in this equity market. While the expected time horizon for decent returns has grown, so has the number of attractively priced securities in the marketplace.