After rising early on, stocks were mixed Monday midday, with the Dow down slightly and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq mildly higher. Coming on the heels of last week’s selloff – the worst since November – a lot of folks are worried if the bull is running on its last legs.
Skeptics like John Hussman are pointing to a very bullish cover story in Barron’s – where the semi-annual Big Money poll showed record levels of bullishness -- as a contrarian indicator and another sign the rally is getting very long in the tooth.
“When the cover of a major financial magazine features a cartoon of a bull leaping through the air on a pogo stick, it’s probably about time to cash in the chips,” writes fund manager John Hussman, one of the Street’s most vocal bears.
But most investors would be smart to ignore Hussman and other institutional scolds, according to Howard Lindzon, CEO of StockTwits.
“When someone turns from bearish to grumpy it’s a sign they really should find another business,” Lindzon says. “You can’t be wrong this long and not turn into a grump.”
After dramatically outperforming the S&P 500 from 2000-2009, Hussman’s flagship Strategic Growth Fund has lagged the index badly in recent years: As of March 31, on an annualized basis the fund was down 4.5% over the past five years, 5.72% over the past three years and 8.64% over the past 12 months. According to Morningstar, the fund is trailing the S&P by 24.7% in the past year, 16.9% in the past three years and 8.6% in the past five years.
In a recent interview with The Daily Ticker, Hussman discussed both the frustrations with his performance as well as the rationale for why he believe stocks are dangerously overvalued at current levels.
But “the advantage most Americans have is they don’t have to listen to [Hussman] because they’re not managing billions of dollars,” Lindzon says. “There are always 8-10 companies that are doing well unless it’s a deep bear market; so you ignore the bears, pogo sticks and the Hussmans.”
With the preface “there’s no reason to chase,” Lindzon recommends, and is long:
- Tesla (TSLA): “It’s a great new America brand” that is pleasing the “meanest nastiest early adopters,” Lindzon says. The stock looks expensive but it’s “impossible to value” by traditional metrics because “you can’t model great products with huge demand.”
- Nike (NKE): “It’s very early on” but Lindzon believes Nike is becoming a “biotech and data” company, driven by Fuel. “We’re into this new phase we’re our bodies are connected and we can build a new currency…how much activity can I do and what can I exchange for that currency Nike has created called ‘Fuel’?“ Along with Under Armour, Nike is “in the best position in terms of stock price and ability to distribute globally to really dominate in those industries and it’s not valued in their stocks,” he says. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen but if it does happen nobody is valuing that properly. That’s how you have growth.“
- Google (GOOG): Lindzon views Google as a ETF-like investment as detailed in his last appearance on The Daily Ticker.
- John Hussman