A lot of stocks are coming apart at the seams. Many of what were considered strong stocks in a weak market have been overwhelmed by the terrible performance in the broader market. I can only hope that the bloodletting ends soon.
I don’t know what to make of oil prices right now. There’s a lot of talk back and forth on the issue as to whether it’s institutional speculators driving up the price of oil artificially, or it’s the real fundamentals of supply and demand of the commodity. In my mind, it’s both of these; nevertheless, it doesn’t make a difference why the price of a barrel of oil is so strong. The fact is that it is hurting just about every facet of the economy.
Without some moderation in oil prices and strength in housing prices, I don’t think the economy can return to its previous growth rates. We need a stable interest rate and inflation environment, a removal of the glut in houses for sale, and reasonable relief in oil and gasoline prices to get things going again. The fact of the matter is — it’s just going to take some time.
So, this means that the equity market is likely to languish for quite a while. The stock market is always good at speculating on the future, but now it’s saying that the future isn’t so bright in the immediate term.
Naturally, this makes it much more difficult to make money speculating in stocks. I am convinced, however, that the solid values being offered by many fine stocks in the marketplace will pay off over time. It takes a lot of courage to be taking on new positions in this kind of market and investment risk is most certainly high. Only time will tell as to when a new equilibrium will be created. I think it will be well into next year at the very earliest.