Seth Klarman, a living legend in the Investment world, said in one of his newsletters:
Someday, financial markets will again decline. Someday, rising stock and bond markets will no longer be government policy – maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday.
Someday, QE will end and money won’t be free.
Someday, corporate failure will be permitted.
Someday, the economy will turn down again, and someday, somewhere, somehow, investors will lose money and once again come to favor capital preservation over speculation.
Someday, interest rates will be higher, bond prices lower, and the prospective return from owning fixed-income instruments will again be roughly commensurate with the risk.
Someday, professional investors will come to work and fear will have come to the markets and that fear will spread like wildfire. The news flow will be bad, and the markets will be tumbling.
A few years ago, many investors were way out over their skis. Giant financial institutions were brought to their knees…
The survivors pledged to themselves that they would forever be more careful, less greedy, less short-term oriented.
But here we are again, mired in a euphoric environment in which some securities have risen in price beyond all reason, where leverage is returning to rainy markets and asset classes, and where caution seems radical and risk-taking the prudent course. Not surprisingly, lessons learned in 2008 were only learned temporarily. These are the inevitable cycles of greed and fear, of peaks and troughs.
Can we say when it will end? No. Can we say that it will end? Yes. And when it ends and the trend reverses, here is what we can say for sure. Few will be ready. Few will be prepared.
In that last paragraph, Klarman reveals the full extent of his wisdom: He admits that he doesn’t know when the current euphoria will end.
In an environment when market pundits are supposed to have a black-and-white, minute-to-minute view of what the market will do next, this admission is startling. And it’s also true.
No one knows what the market will do next.
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