Monday, April 1, 2013

That's the news

ISM survey shows manufacturing sector expansion slows
Factory activity slowed in March as new orders weakened, but a rebound in construction spending in February was another sign of faster economic growth in the first quarter.
Actually, factory activity didn't slow.  Manufacturing expansion slowed, but it still expanded.   As I'm writing this, stocks are down a bit, bond yields are down slightly, and gold is up.  All indicating a small move toward less risk, which doesn't appear to be accounted for in the economic data.  It really looks like stocks are just taking a bit of a breather after a pretty impressive first quarter.  Stocks are up roughly 10 percent in the first quarter, and at the beginning of the year, 10 percent was about the expected market gain for the entire year.

Will Q1′s Fast Start Lead to a Slow Finish? Nope, Says Stovall

In fact, when the first quarter delivers positive returns, the odds of the next three quarters also delivering gains not only goes up, but so does the average total return.
This statement seems to coincide with a lot of what I'm reading lately.  There are a lot of bulls out there, which makes me nervous.  Still, I think the potential for good gains through the end of this year is there, even though I don't think that corporate valuations, on the average, warrant those gains.  Risk recognition, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be there at all.  Well, except for those investors that are still waiting for whatever it is they're waiting for.  The longer this market continues, the more it seems that either: 1) we see a substantial run-up in stock prices because the investors on the sidelines give up waiting for whatever it is they're waiting for, or 2) investors already in the market suddenly realize the risk they've taken on (given the high margin levels in the market) and we see a substantial correction.

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