Stocks are up big to start 2013 but Marc Faber, Editor & Publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, says it ends in tears.
"Either the market is going to correct more meaningfully now or we have a shallow correction and a continuously rising market until July or August," Faber told me via phone from Thailand. If stocks don't pullback soon, he says we risk a repeat of 1987 when stocks rallied 40% into summer only to collapse 41% in 2 months.
"In March of 2009 everything looked horrible, now nobody can find a reason why stocks could go down," Faber claims. "We ask that you should buy stocks when everything looks horrible, you shouldn't rush to buy them when everything looks perfect."
The problem is that it's hard to find anyone claiming the environment is perfect. Even the theme running under the reports of "the masses" buying stocks is that it's a cue to sell, not buy.
Analysts are looking for almost no corporate earnings growth in the current quarter and not much better than that for the balance of the year. The idea that Fed money printing is supporting assets may be true, but the FOMC has given clear guidelines on when the printing will stop. When inflation, as measured, rises past 2% or unemployment falls below 6.5% the Fed will raise rates.
Even if you think the Fed is wrong, there's no basis for calling them liars. A surprise end to Quantitative Easing isn't on the table. It's hard to make much of a case for ebullience beyond the fact of stocks much-hyped journey toward all-time highs.
So what's an investor to do? Faber says it's a matter of allocation and perspective. Stocks have gone very far in a relatively short amount of time. If you caught the rally, he says it's time to trim but not bail out entirely. If you're a Johnny-come-lately to stocks, you're too late as he sees it.
"If you have 100% of your money in equities and you just bought them now, maybe you should reassess your position," says Faber.