I had a great conversation with the founder and chairman of a major homebuilder and he was amazing. The guy has been around the block. The fact is I've had many conversations with big time CEOs outside of media and as an analyst, and what always hits me more than anything else is just how calm they are. Sure, they get frustrated and sure their concerns more often than not mirror that of Main Street. But the difference, especially for those that have built businesses, is they're calm. While one could argue it's a lot easier for a millionaire (or billionaire for that matter) to be calm the flip side is they have more to lose in crash scenarios, there is a different lesson.
They see history as cyclical and understand once the exaggerated ups and downs have run their course great companies are rewarded with proper valuations.
Many feel the same about the United States of America where the current battle to make it more European is as intense as ever and out in the open. The rapid decline in morals and increase in apathy can be a lethal one-two punch. They understand this and many are trying to make sure that doesn't happen but this gentleman and others believe in the end the secret weapon of America... is America. I must say when it comes to this level of confidence I'm not lacking but I do know we aren't going to be fundamentally changed overnight or without a fight.
For me what is even more telling is the hypocrites leading the fight against wealth, success and greed.
I'm so sick of actors, singers and athletes downplaying the drive of others and the virtue of paying lots of taxes. Perhaps they are cleansing some guilt-ridden part of their soul or just playing the game, but I wish they would shut up. Get your trophy, thank God (or for actors the Academy), and tell us how the odds were stacked against you and implore children to do their best at everything, but don't push the new healthcare law or talk politics because you're only dooming those in your old neighborhood to further obstacles to other avenues of escape.
The fact is America has come out of turbulent times in the past, but we have been nicked pretty good and our pedestal over the rest of the world has gotten shorter. If you're the CEO of a company with a large global footprint then it doesn't matter the nation doesn't dominate to the degree it once did as long as prosperity is growing (a central theme to our investment thesis the last several years), but for an American homebuilder to display such calm helped me a lot. He acknowledged the shift in mindset of young adults these days.
Getting married less, having children later, living in big cities and willing to overpay in rent in an uncertain economic environment. But it gets back to the beauty of America and its benefits, including owning a great house with a backyard and the sound of children playing with the dogs. Although the same forces pushing excessive welfare as a benefit, not a curse, believe children are wrong in such a crowded world this is another philosophical battle they'll lose.
In the meantime this old dude that began life with nothing is calm about the future. I wish I could bring investors along to see this and get the true meaning of it all. It's not about money it's about this country, even in a pitched battle for its soul, eventually doing the right thing and that reflecting in the stock market.
Message of the Market
Charles Dow was a part owner and editor of the Wall Street Journal until he passed in 1902. He wrote a series of editorials on the market that eventually became the basis of the Dow Theory. Like the idea of America itself these market observations hold up extraordinarily well despite being challenged from time to time. Part of the theory has to do with the role of transportation stocks confirming broader market moves. Right now transportation is rocking.
I happen to think we're in the big move part although some are pointing to a recent surge of mutual fund inflows as evidence of excess, that part of the equation is still a ways off. Moreover, it continues to be folly trying to pick tops or wait for tops to peak and then buy pullbacks or corrections. A strategy easier said than done and much easier if you've already made a ton of cash during the accumulation phase. For now I like the fact transportation stocks are doing well but it's as much a function of business models as demand.
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