Waiting for the Party to End

The stock market is holding up so well! I can’t get over it. The second quarter really was impressive from my perspective. As I’ve mentioned before, the earnings success really is, in my opinion, a testament to the strength and health of this economy.

It’s funny how things tend to work out. Looking back in hindsight, the timing of President Bush’s tax cut was impeccable. This, combined with a stimulating interest rate policy, was all the economy needed to get going again after 2001.

What’s so impressive about the domestic economy is that it’s generating solid growth right in the face of high oil prices. Petroleum products are in just about everything we use on a daily basis. With the exception of the airline industry, this economy just keeps plowing ahead. Even the trucking industry is doing great in the face of high diesel costs. Sure, our wallets take a hit when we fill up at the gas station, but we can always invest in oil and gas companies.

I’m waiting, of course, for the party to end. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are right in the middle of strong commodity price cycle and the stock market is very vulnerable. With oil now over $66 a barrel, a systemic economic slowdown must eventually be the result. This is why I’m so impressed with the second quarter. I can’t believe how strong corporate earnings have been, despite annoyingly high energy prices.

This, in effect, is why I’m bearish on the main stock market averages for the rest of this decade. I still love a whole bunch a small-cap companies, but, fundamentally, this economy is going to take a hit with higher interest rates and sustained high raw material costs.

So, in the face of this reality, you want to be darned sure you own some commodity/energy-related investments over the next five. A commodity-related mutual fund would be a great place to start right now.