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Some perspective
Old 07-02-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
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Some perspective

Hi; new to the forum and hoping to get some perspective from more seasoned investors.

While I did live through the collapse of the dot com bubble, I don't recall the media hyperbole being as over the top as it is now. Lots of comparisons to the 1930s and inferences that "it is different this time".

Would love to hear from folks who have experienced previous bear markets--is the media doom and gloom just part of the process or is it more pronounced now?
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:11 PM   #2
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Seems about the same to me as in 2002.

Wiki defines one ingredient of a bear market to be "marked pessimism" or words to that effect, so it is part and parcel of the event to hear lots of Chicken Little noises.s
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by newporttony View Post
Hi; new to the forum and hoping to get some perspective from more seasoned investors.

While I did live through the collapse of the dot com bubble, I don't recall the media hyperbole being as over the top as it is now. Lots of comparisons to the 1930s and inferences that "it is different this time".

Would love to hear from folks who have experienced previous bear markets--is the media doom and gloom just part of the process or is it more pronounced now?
I think the diffference between now and the dot.com event is that it is not sleazy no earnings techies falling this time. Bank of America, Citibank, Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros, General Motors, General Electric, Phizer, look at the charts of some of these former Blue Chips, it's getting a little worrisome out there. I learned from past research that the Blue Chips are usually the last to fall at the end of a bear market. So maybe........
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:35 PM   #4
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Well, if it's like 1930 then it's not different this time. Rather, it's just like before. I believe most everyone survived then too.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:49 PM   #5
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:51 PM   #6
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This time its different.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:15 PM   #7
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Reminds me of 1992. If I wanted to scare myself, I would say it is reminiscent of the 1970s. But we are a lot less oil-dependent than we were back then.

For perspective, even oil companies were crushed today on a day when crude hit a new record. That suggests to me that everthing is being sold regardless of rice or value. Usually such idiocy does not last for long.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:23 AM   #8
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This time its different.
But... but... but... what if this time it's really really different?!?
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:01 AM   #9
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I remember the collapse of the dot-com bubble. Although I didn't have much invested then, it seemed a lot worse to me at the time than our present economic woes. During the collapse of the dot-com bubble, people at my work would talk about the market and their TSP in hushed tones. I remember people telling me to watch what I said around this or that person, because he/she had a severe loss in the market and was despondent.

The people at my work are mostly the same, but the atmosphere now is much calmer. People talk about the weather or the election or the price of gas, not the market so much. When I ask them about it, a few people are saying that they don't know but they are disgusted and they might or might not have to delay retirement a little. There is not the same sense of panic/doom as before.

Like others, I think the media are hyping this a little, probably because it is a political issue. I am hoping it will be mostly resolved during the first years of the new Presidency.
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:59 AM   #10
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From what I remember, the .com crash was far more pronounced. The reason I feel it was more pronounced was because the success before the crash was FAR FAR FAR more pronounced and hyped than the 5-year growth between 2003-2007 that we had. Amazon, Cisco, Yahoo!, AOL-Time Warner, Sun Microsystems, Apple, Microsoft, Ebay, buy.com, excite@home (OK, I had to) were all being passed off every single day as the greatest business models ever invented. IPOs were going up 100% within hours of their debut with no rhyme or reason. The mass hysteria before the collapse then was far more ridiculous than it was in 2007, and way worse than the housing bubble even though the housing bubble could be considered more pronounced.

Traditional business model analyses were being scrapped because they could not describe how these internet businesses were soaring in stock price. They borrowed billions of dollars and felt that since they had a website it would turn into earnings... eventually their debt and overstated growth plans (see Sun, pets.com, even AOL) were their downfall.

What is the same or different this time? The same hysteria, to a lesser extent, gripped the market before the fall. This is most clearly seen in the housing market. Traditional mortgage and debt plans were being scrapped because they could not describe the meteoric rise in housing prices as negative amortization, ARMs and interest only loans became the norm not the exception. Eventually, all the debt taken by the consumers fell down upon them as it did not turn into earnings for the banks which had a ripple effect through the economy. I do NOT think this is different, and also think that this stagnation in the economy is less devastating and pronounced as the 2001-2002 one.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:18 AM   #11
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The downturn in the market during from the dotcom bubble lasted from 2000 to 2002. It was a long grinding fall that seemed like it just wouldn't stop. I remember Paul Harvey on the radio saying that he still had faith in America and he was buying despite the bad market.

I think the difference between now and then is that we would need to suffer another year and a few months of this to match what happened back then. Also, I don't hear nearly as many people talking about the market. I think the 2000-2003 period convinced a lot of people that the market wasn't where they wanted to be (real estate! now there is a sure thing!)
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:24 AM   #12
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I do NOT think this is different, and also think that this stagnation in the economy is less devastating and pronounced as the 2001-2002 one.
One big difference -- at least for investors -- is that there is virtually no "refuge" for your money (at least among conventional equities).

In 2001-02, there were safe havens. Small caps were UP. REITs were UP. Emerging markets were mostly UP. International stocks in general were not down nearly as much as U.S. large cap. So someone who diversified across all of these classes didn't see much carnage. I was only down 7% in 2001 and 2002 combined (despite more than a 30% loss in the S&P), and (eek) looking at current balances I'm down 8% YTD here and 13% since October. That's because outside of hedges against inflation and the weakening dollar, none of the conventional equity classes are escaping. Even diversification hasn't been *too* helpful other than the portion that may be in high-quality bonds.

I suspect that may be part of the reason why it *feels* worse to some investors.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:43 AM   #13
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One big difference -- at least for investors -- is that there is virtually no "refuge" for your money (at least among conventional equities).

In 2001-02, there were safe havens. Small caps were UP. REITs were UP. Emerging markets were mostly UP. International stocks in general were not down nearly as much as U.S. large cap. So someone who diversified across all of these classes didn't see much carnage. I was only down 7% in 2001 and 2002 combined (despite more than a 30% loss in the S&P), and (eek) looking at current balances I'm down 8% YTD here and 13% since October. That's because outside of hedges against inflation and the weakening dollar, none of the conventional equity classes are escaping. Even diversification hasn't been *too* helpful other than the portion that may be in high-quality bonds.

I suspect that may be part of the reason why it *feels* worse to some investors.
Commodities, my friend, commodities.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:45 AM   #14
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Commodities, my friend, commodities.
That's why I said "That's because outside of hedges against inflation and the weakening dollar, none of the conventional equity classes are escaping." That was a nod to commodities.

But many people aren't allocated to them, and indeed, I doubt a heck of a lot of 401K plans have funds devoted to them.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:53 AM   #15
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That's why I said "That's because outside of hedges against inflation and the weakening dollar, none of the conventional equity classes are escaping." That was a nod to commodities.

But many people aren't allocated to them, and indeed, I doubt a heck of a lot of 401K plans have funds devoted to them.
Touche, but if you had 5-10% of your portfolio in something that went up 50%, it could have mitigated the 8% fall to something like 5%. I agree it makes a more depressing overall market sentiment, but the fact that some people were making money off of small-cap, international, etc. did not help the millions of investors who lost jobs/fortunes/401ks to the tech collapse. I just somehow feel this isn't quite as bad (except a lot of people own houses )
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:00 AM   #16
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Touche, but if you had 5-10% of your portfolio in something that went up 50%, it could have mitigated the 8% fall to something like 5%. I agree it makes a more depressing overall market sentiment, but the fact that some people were making money off of small-cap, international, etc. did not help the millions of investors who lost jobs/fortunes/401ks to the tech collapse. I just somehow feel this isn't quite as bad (except a lot of people own houses )
Food for thought, and I see your point. Musing on....I would expect it is pretty bad in small, localized regions where the housing bubble was huge and people commonly took out ARM's to buy houses 50-100 miles from work (which were all they could afford). Now they are upside-down on their mortgages, their ARM's are re-setting, and gas prices are eating them alive.

I really feel for those people. So many of the rest of us are getting through this relatively easily by comparison.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:16 AM   #17
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Hi; new to the forum and hoping to get some perspective from more seasoned investors.

While I did live through the collapse of the dot com bubble, I don't recall the media hyperbole being as over the top as it is now. Lots of comparisons to the 1930s and inferences that "it is different this time".

Would love to hear from folks who have experienced previous bear markets--is the media doom and gloom just part of the process or is it more pronounced now?
For what it's worth, it seems to me the media airtime was focused more on September 11 and its aftereffects in 2002. Now they are filling that airspace with market coverage. That doesn't mean this time things are or will be the same (or different). I do remember not feeling worried back then (even though our two children were getting into the real world of work) because we weren't affected too much by the bear market. We are still not in too bad of shape personally (down 5 percent YTD) but this time I'm contributing some worry time.

But I almost feel some relief that the bear is here--it seems we have been waiting for that shoe to drop ever since October's highs, in a weird way. Now we can deal with it.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:10 AM   #18
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I wasn't alive during the 1930s or 1940s, but from what I've read about that era, times were much bleaker then than they are now. The basic survival of western civilization (or at least the capitalistic democracies) was in serious doubt in 1940, for example, and investors didn't fare very well at the time (although it turned out in hindsight to be a great buying opportunity for those living in the right countries).

If there is anything that's "different this time," it's the fact that the economic activity is starting to shift to the emerging economies of the world. One guest on Wealthtrack.com a few months ago referred to this trend as "the '70s all over again," but he was referring to the 1870s (which was the time when the United States was the emerging economy to Europe being the established "developed world").

There are many trends in play (e.g., emerging and frontier economies are growing, while developed economies are graying and retiring) that may last for the next few decades. The media is probably hyping the situation (I don't know, since I don't watch the news) because it is probably worse than what many people alive today have experienced in their lifetimes. But it's probably not as bad as it's ever been before in history.

It's probably a good time to think things through carefully before making any changes to one's investment portfolio (i.e., don't react to the latest headlines, but think long term and globally). Reacting emotionally to news will likely leave prople worse off than before.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:12 AM   #19
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The media is probably hyping the situation
Never. That doesn't happen.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:26 AM   #20
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But... but... but... what if this time it's really really different?!?
Im frozen with fear so I do nothing. Im like the captain going down with the ship.
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