Posts tagged ‘Laszlo Birinyi’

Walking on Egg Shells

Stepped on eggshells

The recent stock market rally has investors walking on egg shells. “Nervous Nelly” investors panicked on the way down last year, and now they are fearful and skeptical about the sustainability of the fierce six-month rally. The S&P 500 is up about 60% from the latest bear market lows, but I think the recent New Jersey Business News (NJBN) article captures the investor sentiment perfectly, “I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared,” investor Dania Leon said. “Why are we up, especially with unemployment as high as it is? I don’t feel great because I worry that we could have a 500- or 600-point drop in a day and I won’t be quick enough to pull out of it in time.”

Will investors ever be comfortable? Well yes, of course, exactly at the right time to sell. Calm and complacency will most likely settle in once the economic headlines are on a clear path to recovery. At that point, the market, like a game of chess, will likely have already anticipated the recovery.

Until then, the whipsaw syndrome seems to have taken effect on investors. The NJBN article goes onto expand on investors’ emotional scars:

“They’ve been traumatized twice,” said Michal Strahilevitz, a business professor at Golden Gate University who studies the psychology of individual investors. “First they lost a lot and got out. And now they’ve watched it climb up. It’s a lot of regret, and for people who are investing for their family, it’s a lot of guilt.”

Trillions of low yielding cash continues to sit on the sidelines, waiting for the inevitable 10% “pullback.” Strategist Laszlo Birinyi sees little evidence for an imminent correction, “Give me the evidence…in 1982 we went 424 days before we had a correction. In 2000, we went seven years before we had a 10% correction. In 2002, we went three or four years.”  (For more on Mr. Birinyi, see

At the end of the day, as great growth investor Peter Lynch said, it’s the direction of corporate earnings that will ultimately drive the market higher or lower. “People may bet on hourly wiggles of the market but it’s the earnings that waggle the wiggle long term.” Right now based on the strength of the rally, the market is telling us that third quarter corporate earnings should come in better than analyst expectations. Perhaps we get a yawner response (sell on the news reaction), or if improvement outright stalls, perhaps we will get the mother of all expected corrections?

All these mind games make for an extremely tiresome investing mental tug-of-war. I choose not to get caught up in this game of market timing, but rather I choose to let the investment opportunity-set drive my investment decisions. I have taken some chips off the table during this rebound but I am still finding plenty of other fertile opportunities to redeploy capital. As others nervously walk on egg shells, I opt to clean up the mess and look for a clearer investment path.

Read the Full NJBN Article Here

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper.

September 22, 2009 at 3:45 am Leave a comment

Words of Wisdom from the Money Flow Master

Laszlo Birinyi HeadshotWhen Laszlo Birinyi talks, people should listen. Laszlo Birinyi, President of Birinyi Associates, has seen a lot in his days on Wall Street and he has the gray hair to prove it. Mr. Birinyi joined Salomon Brothers in 1976 with the job of developing products and analysis for the firm’s clients and traders. In 1989, after departing Salomon Brothers, Mr. Birinyi left to form Birinyi Associates where Bloomberg LP became a key client for a variety of equity functions.

Mr. Birinyi made the concept of “money flow” – a price direction indicator based on supply-demand trade volume data – a key pillar for his clients’ research. Having lived through and studied many market cycles, Mr. Birinyi tries to take the emotion and misleading media headlines out of the investment decision making process. The “wall of anxiety” is very normal to be present in market cycle bottoms, but the market is always looking ahead. Rather than listen to the talking heads on television, Mr. Birinyi chooses to listen to the market statistics. The current market thinking is that we’ve come too far, too fast, therefore we are positioned for an imminent 10% pullback. Laszlo Birinyi calls the correction speak nonsense and highlights the limited data to support these claims.  Mr. Birinyi begs for bears to “Give me the evidence…in 1982 we went 424 days before we had a correction. In 2000, we went seven years before we had a 10% correction. In 2002, we went three or four years.”

CNBC Interview With the Money Flow Master

CNBC Interview With the Money Flow Master

Click Here To View CNBC Interview

The bear case always sounds more intelligent, but based on his views into his crystal ball, Mr. Birinyi sees the S&P 500 hitting 1,700 over the next few years (approximately a 70% increase from current levels). What I like about Birinyi’s process is that it’s a strategy based on taking out emotions and following objective data – the strategy is not driven by witty, bearish media sound-bites.

I can’t objectively verify Laszlo Birinyi’s performance; however I can understand his sound, sage advice because his philosophy is based upon objective historical statistics and data, not on the whims of the skittish masses. Birinyi has been around for decades but in the coming weeks and months we’ll discover if the 10% correction boogeyman will spook him or not.

September 10, 2009 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

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