Let’s Play the Waiting Game

What a weird stock market environment this is. One day, the main market averages hit new record highs, then it’s the end of the world and everything comes apart. This followed by significant strength after one company reports great numbers.

This choppy trading action isn’t good and it is a reflection of the market’s uneasiness and lack of confidence in its direction. The saving grace for stock market participants is the market’s fair value. Stock prices aren’t undervalued and they aren’t overvalued. So, this means that any major swing in prices should be tempered.

Despite all this, I’m still bullish. I’m confident that the market can work through all its worries and tick higher going into 2008. I’m in the camp that believes it would be really useful to have another interest-rate reduction, keeping in mind the importance of the Fed’s job to keep inflation under control.

One thing that I am not finding in this market is great new investing opportunities. Not for a lack of effort, but there isn’t much in this market at this time that looks really interesting. Chinese stocks have been the best performers in the speculative end of the market. What’s happened, of course, is that they’ve all gone up in value and there isn’t much new to replace them right now.

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So, I think it’s mostly a waiting game right now. You can’t manufacture a great investment prospect that isn’t there. As I’ve written before, my experience is that great investment opportunities tend to occur in waves, so I firmly believe that a new batch of interesting companies will someday jump out at me.

For now, it’s difficult to get excited about the market when earnings results are lackluster. Then again, the third quarter is often a difficult month for businesses and the stock market.