Social Trends Dictating Economic Trends

It’s a pickle; there’s no doubt about it. The stock market has now lost interest in the remainder of the second-quarter earnings season and is now teetering on a full-blown correction. It’s all happened as fast as I expected. Global reaction to the U.S. credit situation isn’t helping either.

As a long-term investor, you can argue that the current turmoil in the credit market is actually good for the long-run stability of the economy. Housing prices ballooned too quickly, and now we’re paying the price for lenders’ lack of discipline. Prices just can’t go up in a straight line.

History keeps repeating itself. When a taxi driver talks to his customers about his Internet stocks, you know the stock market’s in trouble. The same thing happened in the housing sector. Some of the more popular shows on television recently were “Buy Me,” “Flip That House,” “Take This House and Sell It,” and “Moving Up.” When mass media tries to cash in on the economy’s latest trend, you know the game is over. History keeps repeating itself.

So, what are you going to do with all the turmoil in global equities? Well, there isn’t a lot you can do. You can sit on the sidelines and continue looking for attractive companies. I wouldn’t be taking on new positions right now. This correction could last a while.

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My hope is that the current turmoil takes up most of the trading action in stocks for the entire third quarter. Let’s get this thing washed out of the system and back to normal. Stock prices have been strong until now. A correction is a healthy development for the market. I’m guessing, of course, but I think the fourth quarter this year will be a good one for stocks. I still think we’ll finish the year on a positive note.