What Have We Learned?

It was just over eight years ago that I wrote an article for Seeking Alpha entitled, “A History of Market Violence“. The article was posted to the site on March 5, 2009, which of course was just one day removed from the final financial crisis bear market low that came the next trading day on March 6. It explored the mistakes that policy makers had made in the past during the Great Depression and were being relied upon to avoid this next time around. Many years have passed since this article was written, and stocks have gone from bear market lows to new all-time highs. But the question remains: what have we truly learned and what challenges, if any, remain?

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I Tawt I Taw Another Puddy Tat

A danger weighing on the broader market earlier in the year appears to have arisen once again. European bank stocks were under heavy fire at the start of 2016 due to new bank bail-in rules, perceived commodities related exposure and a chronically weak profitability outlook. But once global markets bottomed in mid-February, these European banks found their footing and began moving modestly higher. But over the past two to three weeks, they have disconnected with the major averages and rolled back over. Many are now pushing back toward fresh new lows as they struggle under the weight of negative interest rates and the need for further restructuring and cost cutting. This latest does not bode well for a broader stock market seeking to hold on to its recently strong bounce.

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The 7-Year Anaphylaxis

Seven years ago, I posted an article on Seeking Alpha entitled “A History of Market Violence” on March 5, 2009, that explored the various challenges facing the economy and markets at that time. This, of course, was the day before the market bottomed on March 6, 2009, at 666.79 on the S&P 500 Index. Just over seven years have passed since the market bottom. And on this latest anniversary, it is worthwhile to revisit these challenges to assess how far we’ve come in fixing the problems that ailed the system so many years ago.

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The Weekend At Bernie’s Bull Market

The financial media has been filled with anniversary celebrations. So the party banners have proclaimed, the bull market in stocks has just celebrated its seventh anniversary. But will history view this celebration in the same way when reflecting back years from now? For while the bull market may still seem to be alive and well in the eyes of many investors and the financial media, in reality it may have already died along ago. And for those who may be wondering, such celebrations are one of the many reasons why so many investors unwittingly find themselves trapped in the clutches of a bear market with few reasonable options to escape.

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How Long Will The Next Bear Market Last

While it may not feel this way, it has been nearly nine months now since the U.S. stock market has set a new all-time high. Since the last intraday peak on the S&P 500 Index at 2134.72, stocks are down by more than -12% through Friday’s trading. And the further stocks travel in time from this past peak, the more unlikely it seems that they will break out to new highs. Thus, the next bear market that so many have mentioned looming on the horizon may already be well underway. While much of the focus on the next bear market is the magnitude of the declines it may bring, it is also worthwhile to consider its potential duration.

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.