The first year of the new decade begins with markets in a much more exuberant mood than at the beginning of 2019. Some of the world’s most important stock markets reached record highs in the last month of 2019 — but do investors feel that markets have peaked?
Uncertainty about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations has hit new highs, President Trump seems determined to scare the markets witless with his threats of escalating the trade war, debt problems in China are accelerating – the perfect background for a contrarian ‘buy’ signal.
It finally happened: investors are so bearish that a contrarian “buy” signal has been triggered. The Bull and Bear indicator developed by researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch is finally indicating Buy, one year after climbing so high that it triggered a Sell signal.
If this is not yet capitulation, it sure feels like it. Money has been fleeing stock markets at record speed, and despite dovish signals from the Federal Reserve, investors are still not taking advantage of the buying opportunities the panic in the markets are throwing at them.
The past week has not been encouraging for investors, with many asset classes haemorrhaging funds at increased speed.
The week before that, on January 30, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Bull/Bear indicator triggered a sell signal for the first time in five years, and markets sold off.
The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bull/Bear indicator last week hit the highest level since its last sell signal, just as U.S. President Donald Trump took credit, once again, for the surge in the stock market.
Sentiment was getting even closer to triggering a “sell” signal in the stock markets last week, as investors’ enthusiasm climbed even more.
A survey by Scottish Widows imparts some uplifting news: British millennials are optimistic about their future. Around 75% of millennial-aged Britons expect their quality of life to improve or at least remain the same in retirement, it shows.
Most millennials expect to retire around 63 years of age (Scottish Widows calls this “early” retirement, but until not long ago, retiring at 63 would have been considered pretty normal).
“This generation has expensive plans for their later years, with holidaying overseas (59%), trips to the cinema and theatre (48%), keeping up with the latest fashions and buying new clothes (28%) and eating and drinking out regularly (26%) in their sights,” the survey shows.
While it’s always good to see the young looking confidently to their future, they should take a better look at these plans and perhaps revise them down a bit, following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. They should also perhaps learn from that vote and become more active and vocal in future political decisions.
An investor survey showed such “unambiguous pessimism,” that either risk assets are ripe for a rally or the markets are positioning for a recession and/or an imminent debt default, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research, which carried out the survey.