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Stocks Approach All-Time High (Who Cares)

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The muted reaction to the major U.S. indices approaching all-times highs this past week felt a bit off for those that remember a time when folks that made their living recommending stocks were held in an almost mystical regard.

Whether they be Wall Street investment analysts, venture capitalists, or even plain old stockbrokers, the bull markets of the 80s and 90s raised all boats and reputations.

Take a look at the average annual returns of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1982 to 1989:

1982: 19.61%
1983: 20.27%
1984: -3.74%
1985: 27.66%
1986: 25.58%
1987: 2.26%(!)
1988: 11.85%
1989: 26.96%

And in the 90’s, the good times continued to roll - with the Dow skyrocketing from 2800 at the start of 1990 to over 11,000 by September 1999.

Now THAT was a bull market.

Since then, not so much.

Think about it, on an inflation-adjusted basis the return of all major US stock indices over the past fourteen years (1999 – 2013) has actually been negative.

And it gets worse.

Historically low interest and inflation rates - combined with massive and seemingly permanent federal budget deficits - have given the bond and money markets an even less appealing combination of low return and systemic risk.

And to top it all off, how about governmental policy and tone that if not outright hostile to the plight of the equity investor, is at its best supremely indifferent to it?

Yes, it is enough to cause despair in those that still believe that well-functioning equity markets are at the heart of a vibrant and growing economy.

But all is not lost.

You see, in the mist of all this malaise over the last 10-15 years, some investors have been making money. 

Who Are They?

Now who these folks are and how they invest is something that I have dedicated a large part of my professional life to understanding and replicating. 

And starting this Thursday, I am going to share what I have discovered.


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