It's About Context...
Conventional wisdom suggests that rising interest rates are not good for stocks. Following the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) most recent rate hike in December 2015, the market has been increasingly volatile to the downside.
Is this evidence that conventional wisdom is right?
Or will a review of the historical evidence suggest that this downside volatility is likely an overreaction?
I grew up in Basketball Country (aka The Bluegrass State) and there’s nothing like this time of year. Four full weeks of college hoops. Conference tournaments and then the NCAA tournament. And, the tens of millions of tournament bracket submissions filled with predictions about who’s going to win and advance round by round.
These are always fun and add to the spectacle of college hoops and the ribbings and banter among friends. I love it!
For much of this year, the headlines have been filled with doom and gloom. The pages and airways declared that the economy and stock market are falling apart. There’s noise everywhere.
But, the reality is that the latest downturn is just a normal part of our economy and financial markets. The dynamic nature of capitalism often masks the cyclical behavior of both U.S. and international economies. Because these cycles can take years and decades to play out, it is frequently difficult for many people to see beyond what’s happening in this moment.
In our digital age, you can easily find past financial forecasts online. This makes it harder for the carnival barkers (i.e. professional stock pickers and various media) to hide the cracks in their crystal balls.
Still year after year, even with mounds of evidence that they don’t know the future better than anyone else, the carnival barkers continue to do so unabashedly.
A few weeks ago, NBA Legend Charles Barkley was asked why he injects “in my opinion” so frequently into his analysis and commentary. He responded by saying that he hates when other analysts give their opinions on things and make it seem as though their opinions are the only ones that matter.
When I saw those numbers I thought, “Seriously? A quarter of a million dollars?”
The more shocking aspect of the $245,000 is that it only pays for basic coverage for a healthy 65-year-old couple. So, that number doesn’t provide the complete picture.