Sun Tzu once said that when "armies engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, the men's weapons will become dull and their enthusiasm will wane." While originally intended for a literal interpretation, the military general's sage words would come to describe the state of the Dow Jones Industrial Average thousands of years later and in a land quite foreign to his own.
Let's skip the existential meanderings and get straight to the point : year-to-date, the Dow is up a little over three one-hundredths of a percent.
As in +0.03%.
Of course, the mainstream media will opine that the underpinnings of the economy are trending up, that jobless claims are down, and the American consumer is getting back on the saddle. Never mind the fact that in this day and age of legally fabricated accounting "adjustments" that government reports often contradict each other, the more crucial element is time. After five months, the (arguably) most popular equity index in the world managed to gain only 0.03%.
If the economy was really doing so great, how come the big money are not putting up the capital to fund it? I don't buy into this crap that the markets need to absorb the "realities" of the economy before we see that magic secular bull explode into the stratosphere. The financial markets have always been a leader in speculation : they don't absorb the news in so much as they slit its throat and hang it out to dry. "Waiting for news" is what the common plebian is known to do because that's the only thing they can do, so careful are they with what precious funds they have available.
The big money is not like that. They could care less if they lose millions because they have millions pouring in from all manners of passive revenue streams. So if the elitists who are so carefree with their money don't want to participate in this contrived of bull markets, why should anyone else?
It's a good question and until I hear a good answer, my choice has already been made quite some time ago. With a YTD performance of 0.03%, this implies an annualized return of only 0.079%, a pathetic yield that would find a more appropriate home in a boring savings account at your local credit union!
Seriously, when will people understand at that implied rate, your money is literally better served sitting in a bank vault than it is being managed by a pre-pubescent fund manager who thinks he's a hot shot because he watched a few YouTube videos and can do an impersonation of Gordon Gekko?
But don't take my word for it. Look at the chart of the Dow. Witness for yourself the tiredness inherent in the consecutive failures of the hopelessly optimistic to breach and secure new highs.
Then ask yourself which side of the trade you'd prefer to be on...