Tower Private Advisors
- Slew of headlines
- Payrolls report
Tower Private Advisors
It used to be that a headline like the one attached to the story below would have seemed incongruous. Now, we just shake our heads and realize it’s a sign of the times and the current state of affairs. (Click on the story for the full version.)
Given the state of global finances, perhaps we shouldn’t find this surprising. Here is a look at debt-to-GDP levels for advanced and developing countries, the constituents of which are defined by FTSE. The developed countries are represented by the blue bars, while the emerging countries are shown in green. Averages are shown in the respective colors.
This is late to the blog, but I had trouble posting them up earlier. Cumberland Advisors sends out free, occasional but always timely e-mails. I highly recommend signing up for them. In posting them below I have butchered the text formatting, and I apologize to the fine folks at Cumberland Advisors for that. What follows is an excellent comparison of the current quake situation with Japan to one similar that occured in 1995. My highlighting below.
I saw the story immediately below and began thinking about BP disaster as an analog for Japan. I know, I know–plugging a hole in the bottom of the ocean isn’t the same as stopping a nuclear problem–I mean, we know that, right? Recalling those images, though, from the undersea cameras as they tried to snake this or that mechanism down there seemed plenty complicated–and they used concrete in that disaster, too, right–makes it sound not so far fetched.
Anyway, here’s the story. Doesn’t it sound familiar?
So I took it a step further. In the chart below you’ll see three panels. In the top and bottom panels are charted BP’s stock and the S & P 500 starting 19 days before the April 20, 2010, well disaster, respectively. The middle panel shows the Japan ETF (EWJ) from 19 days before the earthquake. I adjusted the Y-axis on that panel, and it’s, coincidentally, not far off the scale of the BP chart. It took the S & P 500 about 28 weeks to recoup its pre-spill levels. From the leak to the bottom of BP stock’s decline was about ten weeks. I didn’t try to figure out when the well had been plugged/capped because–you’ll recall–there was endless talk about endless lawsuits from the spill; I figured the bottom in the stock was a better measure.
Here are takeaways
We never want to let time and history be the sole factors in investment decisions, but they can provide useful signposts. Yes, the situations are absolutely different this time, but I will guarantee you that the traders have not changed a whit. They’re still prone to swings of emotion, and that’s what makes history-doesn’t-repeat-itself-but-it-often-rhymes such a useful saw.