Are we there yet?
That question has lived in infamy for every generation that has seen parents taking children on a road trip.
It makes no difference if the journey is long or short; the question is always the same.
I remember our Thanksgiving journeys from Upstate New York to our grandparent’s home in Manhattan as though it was yesterday.
My younger brother seemed to know exactly when the odometer passed 100 miles since the beginning of our trip, as he would loudly ask, “Are we THERE YET?”
Shortly thereafter, my sister would mutter “Are…yet?” and then fall back asleep.
Being the oldest child and knowing how much the question aggravated my father, I only thought about the excitement of the journey and would occasionally say “Making great time, Dad.”
The stock market is now experiencing its own journey.
There are those, such as myself, who believe we are replicating March 2000 when the S&P 500 peaked at 1,552.
Had you embraced the common attitude of both Wall Street and the mainstream media at that time, you would have believed the journey had just begun.
Your investments would have focused on the new paradigm of dot-com in 24 year-old CDOs driving the markets forever.
Unfortunately, that journey ended where it began as twelve years later the S&P 500 is at 1,371 and the net-loss would have been 12%.
Once again, we’ve reached a point where investors must decide whether the journey is an end or just a beginning.
As we all know, individual investors have been leading the market in droves.
Most believe the markets are manipulated for the benefit of a select few (that’s a discussion for another column.)
However, with each passing day the desire to get on board and not miss the so-called journey grows stronger and stronger.
It seems there is a concerted effort by Wall Street, Main Street, Washington DC, the mainstream media, and even the PPT (Plunge Protection Team) to convince you that the journey, in fact, has just begun. If that’s the case and the journey is indeed just beginning, the results could prove very beneficial, at least for a few.
Conversely, if the trip has actually ended, getting on board now could produce even worse results than what we’ve witnessed since 2000.
Therefore, now more than ever before, it is extremely appropriate to ask the age-old question: Are we there yet?