For years Merrill Lynch’s chief investment strategist, Richard Bernstein, has been a sound, informative, analytical voice in the turbulent world of the markets.
I actually had the chance to meet and speak with Bernstein after a Dow Jones event earlier this year taking place before anyone could have predicted the ensuing panic and destruction that would come to Wall Street. But that’s just the thing, on a panel of optimists who debated whether or not we were going to ‘touch on a recession’, Bernstein was the lone voice saying it’s going to get much worse before it gets better around here.
And so the straight talk Bernstein express continues. Just today Clusterstock reported on a note released by Bernstein offering a contrarian view to everyone anxious to ‘buy on the dip’ and get back in the markets.
We have previously said that we would follow four main indicators to gauge our re-entry point back into the equity markets. They are sentiment, valuation, estimate revisions, and jobless claims. Let’s review where these indicators now stand.
Much to our shock, sentiment actually deteriorated slightly rather than improved last month [translation: investors got more optimistic]. Our model is picking up that investors are willing to “buy on the dip”. Historically, significant market bottoms have not been associated with such bullishness….
The popular press is full of reports of famous investors moving back into equities. However, history shows quite clearly that being early can carry substantial performance penalties. Despite the popular consensus, it’s historically been better to actually be somewhat late.
We continue to rely on our indicators to guide our way. Until they show us that the risk/returns are skewed in investors’ favor, we are happy with our current themes: Treasuries and very high quality bonds, developed markets, defensive sectors, and secure high quality dividend paying stocks.
In layman’s terms: “You guys are nuts! Get the hell out of here with that ‘now-is-the-time-to-buy’ crap! Sit at home and friggin’ wait.”
Clusterstock: Merrill’s Bernstein: Stay Out Of The Market, Fools, November 6, 2008