ARE U A BULL OR A BEAR?
WHAT TIME FRAME OF THE YEAR DO YOU THINK WE WILL BE IN A BULL MARKET? I THINK THE DOW WON’T BE ABOVE 9,500 TILL MID 2010, TILL THEN IT WILL STAY VOLATILE FOR MANY REASONS THAT ARE LISTED BELOW……………..
October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February. ~Mark Twain
While there is much to celebrate this year, we find little cause for joy when looking at the financial markets. While many pundits have predicted that the final closing low in the bear market was reached on November 20th, we at Hurricane Capital Global Alpha Fund still believe there will be more red than green in the stock market in 2009.
However, during every major bear market since World War II, the time to buy stocks was after a 30-50% decline in the S&P 500. So one may ask why we would recommend something different this time around. In the spirit of Christmas, we present twelve reasons why there is more downside to the stock market in 2009.
1. Valuation: Historically the price to earnings ratio (P/E) and price to book ratio (P/B) of a stock or index is considered cheap when trading at less than ten to one and one to one respectively. Stocks in the US bottomed with at a P/E of 7 in July 1982. During the Great Depression, Benjamin Graham wrote about how many of the greatest US companies would be worth more if liquidated for the cash on their balance sheets than kept. These stocks were trading below their net current assets.
According to Bloomberg, the Russell 3000, which incorporates 98% of the market cap of us stocks, has a trailing P/E of 24.64 and a P/B of 1.68. Despite the massive drop that occurred in 2008, it would be tough to characterize the market as cheap from a historical perspective.
2. Housing Prices Crashing: The latest monthly reading of the Case-Shiller home price index from October 2008 showed a drop of 18.04% year over year, the largest drop on record. Amazingly, the drop in home prices is still accelerating two years into the decline. We are not going to find a bottom in the market until the pace of decline slows significantly. The massive tailwind the US consumer had been receiving from equity extractions has officially ended.
3. Debt Destruction: American consumers doubled household debt this decade while incomes stagnated. Consumers adding a trillion dollars in debt ever year on average for the first 7 years of the decade. Two trillion in consumer credit lines may be pulled in 2009, and home equity extractions are done for the foreseeable future. Another way to look at this is consumers would have a trillion dollar pullback in spending from 2007 levels if debt stops expanding. Debt destruction, which we believe is going to occur, means purchases would have to decline by over a trillion dollars. This would mark the first significant destruction of debt in the US since the 1930s. Growth of household debt to GDP did not start increasing again, until after World War II, over a decade later.
4. More Writedowns: We have another trillion or so of losses to take in the commercial real estate, jumbo mortgage, prime mortgage, leveraged loans, asset backed, corporate bond and credit default swap markets. This is assuming subprime and Alt-A are now priced correctly. On second thought, considering the debt destruction process, it could be more like 1.5 trillion.
5. US Corporate Earnings Collapse: Corporate earnings estimates are way too high. The consumer is dead due to the debt destruction, and there is another trillion (give or take) in losses yet to be realized across the financial sector. Almost all earnings growth in the first half of 2008 came from oil, basic materials and technology. Pricing has collapsed in all three areas. We have not yet seen the price collapse reflected in the EPS of companies in these industries. We will see it in 2009. Be wary of people touting cheap stocks based on future earnings. Trailing twelve month earnings on the S&P are $ 44.91 a share. The average analyst estimate on Bloomberg for the S&P 500 is currently $ 71.69 per share for 2009. There is absolutely no way companies will earn more in 2009 than in 2008. None.
6. Corporate Credit: Credit spreads are at levels where companies cannot fund themselves and survive. This is if companies can roll their debt at all. Much of the lending during the last 5 years was never meant to be paid back. Spreads on CCC bonds hit 40% in December. There are loan sharks who charge better rates than this. The debt markets are still closed for virtually everything high yield.
7. 12.5% Underemployment: And rising fast.
8. No Savings: The savings rate was under 2% from 2005-2007. Interest rates were low, and lots of spare money was funneled into the stock market. It always goes up if you buy and hold. Right? This was conventional thinking anyway. Many people now need this money to live on. This means