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Charles Ellis, author of Winning the Loser's Game puts it this way: “high stock prices - as much as you love them - are not good for you. Eventually, you will have to give back every single increment of return you get that's above the long-term central trend.” 26 Hope the great giving back period began in 1998. That's roughly when the yield of the stock I follow reached their nadir. If so, and we are 14 years into the bear, it will all be over sooner.
Here's what I mean about behaviour control, courtesy of John Bogle speaking to the New York Society of Security Analysts. When the stock market was “fairly valued” as the 1990s began, “the average market participant had…70% [of assets] in fixed-income investments and 30% in equities. But in the highly valued market as 2001 began, the ratio averaged 19% in fixed-income and 81% in equities.”
It's happening all over again. Stock prices fell in 2008: valuations were below par again in early 2009. What were market participants doing, or being told to do by their advisors? Buying bonds. They think bonds are safe. There was a flight from equities. Oh my! Safety comes from the price you pay, not the instrument you buy. Think. Interest rates are low. What happens to bond prices when interest rates rise? They fall. It's an inverse relationship. Read Financial Epochs.