Am I Bullish or Bearish?

Any cursory look at the main stock market indices will reveal a terrible performance record of late. Most of the main market averages have been going down since October of last year and they’ve been doing so on an increase in volume.

Despite the best of reasoned analysis, I don’t see how anyone can really come up with a defined sense as to where the stock market will go over the coming quarters.

The market is down, investor sentiment is weak, and corporate outlooks are being revised. With this backdrop, you could say that we’re in a bear market.

Still, there’s a lot of stimulus being offered to the marketplace and the vast majority of companies, both large and small, are running very lean operations. This leads me to believe that things can be turned around this year.

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For most investors, a year is an eternity and many will lose patience and stop participating in the stock market altogether. In fact, this has already happened. But I’m really now beginning to think that one should be a buyer in this market over the next few quarters. I don’t expect most stocks to take off right away, but I’m seeing a lot of companies out there that are very attractively priced. This is particularly the case with quite a few Chinese stocks.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the stock market can be a brutal system to participate in. With this in mind, however, its ability to correct itself, move forward, and look to a brighter future is renowned.

Over Christmas, after the market turned south in a big way, my colleagues asked if I was bullish or bearish on the future. I told them that I was bullish, because a lot of bad news was already priced into the stock market — a market that was not overvalued to begin with.

I guess I’m still bullish, but I’m waiting for a major catalyst to turn this around and I don’t know what that catalyst is going to be. The government has already done what it can with significant monetary and fiscal stimuli. How it will all turn out is just unknown to me. All I can reason is that the stock market has already corrected a lot and most of the bad news is already in the marketplace.