Time to End the Post-Election Hangover
That's what is happening right now. A lot of traders apparently bought into the political spin of their party leaders, assuming bad motives on the part of the other side, and the result is clear in the latest American Association of Individual Investors sentiment index -- a sharp fall into bearish territory since November 6. One trader put this on a chart and posted it to Twitter.
I see it every day -- hundreds of comments on stories trying to re-litigate the election on SeekingAlpha.com, crickets when I write about real market opportunities on that site.
Investors are suddenly more bearish than at any time this year. They're more bearish than they were in May, when USA Today said no one wanted stocks anymore, as Barry Ritholz wrote at the time,. Even more bearish than June, when AmericanManufacturing.org was collecting "oh noes" about China.
Or, as CNBC put it all last week: Fiscal cliff! Fiscal cliff! Fiscal cliff!
Well, fiscal cliff schmiscal cliff.
First, let's get two things straight. Mitt Romney is not a fascist, and Barack Obama is not a Kenyan Muslim Socialist. Their differences are minor compared with what they agree on. If you're buying or selling assets based on a caricature, based on politics, you're losing money in any market.
Here's the truth. The American economy is in pretty good shape, compared to the rest of the world. You can throw darts at a board, or you can buy the New York Stock Exchange (SPY) or Nasdaq (QQQ) ETFs and come back five years from now with more money than you started with.
Consumers are less debt-ridden than at any time since 2003, as The FiscalTimes writes. We have a natural gas glut we can't export, MoneyNews writes, meaning energy inputs cost less here. And when that glut ends, we make more money.
The dimensions of a sustainable recovery are also coming into focus. We are approaching energy abundance, not just oil and gas abundance but abundance in technologies that produce alternatives to oil and gas, and use that energy more efficiently.
Manufacturing is coming back, not just mass production, but the use of affordable 3D printing and robotics to create custom, high-margin goods at low cost. Cloud computing, wireless networking and mobile clients that are literally as cheap as chips. We have a workforce that's better educated than China's and younger than Europe's.