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John Hussman: US Stock Market is Overvalued, Overbought, Overbullish

by Brett on December 14, 2010

Continuing on our theme from yesterday that investor sentiment has reached an extreme level of jubilation, John Hussman writes that we’ve now reached the pantheon of “awful times to invest”:

In recent weeks, the U.S. stock market has been characterized by an overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields syndrome that has historically been hostile to stocks. Last week, the situation became much more pointed. Past instances have been associated with such uniformly negative outcomes that the current situation has to be accompanied by the word “warning.”

The following set of conditions is one way to capture the basic “overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields” syndrome:

1) S&P 500 more than 8% above its 52 week (exponential) average
2) S&P 500 more than 50% above its 4-year low
3) Shiller P/E greater than 18
4) 10-year Treasury yield higher than 6 months earlier
5) Advisory bullishness > 47%, with bearishness < 27% (Investor’s Intelligence)

So how do these conditions usually work out, John?

The historical instances corresponding to these conditions are as follows:

December 1972 – January 1973 (followed by a 48% collapse over the next 21 months)

August – September 1987 (followed by a 34% plunge over the following 3 months)

July 1998 (followed abruptly by an 18% loss over the following 3 months)

July 1999 (followed by a 12% market loss over the next 3 months)

January 2000 (followed by a spike 10% loss over the next 6 weeks)

March 2000 (followed by a spike loss of 12% over 3 weeks, and a 49% loss into 2002)

July 2007 (followed by a 57% market plunge over the following 21 months)

January 2010 (followed by a 7% “air pocket” loss over the next 4 weeks)

April 2010 (followed by a 17% market loss over the following 3 months)

December 2010 – ?

You can read Hussman’s full weekly letter here.

While now may not be the time to initiate new long positions, investing guru Steve Sjuggerud believes you should stay in the market in case it keeps running higher – while keeping your trailing stops close.

For more on this, see yesterday’s piece “Be Careful, the Dumb Money is 71% Confident Stocks are Heading Higher.

Hat tip Jonathan Lederer for sending this link along.


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