Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The 29th bubble?
Grantham and his research team have identified '28 good examples of previous bubbles' from within the world of global stock markets, currencies and commodities. 'I am patiently waiting for the current 28th bubble, the S&P 500, to go all the way back to trend - about 750 versus today's 1150,' he says. 'It fell to within 10% of trend in 2002, but still no cigar. But... ALL the other 27 identified bubbles did indeed move all the way back to [trend].'Then this:
Crude oil prices have, indeed, jumped two standard deviations above their historic trend, Grantham admits, which technically means that the price jump has reached bubble proportions. But he wonders whether crude oil might be that 'very rare bird - a paradigm shift.' In other words, he wonders if crude oil might be the first-ever bubble not to revert to its previous trend . . . He believes crude oil is capable of resisting the powerful forces of mean-reversion. 'It's the best possibility I've seen in my career.The article ends with this caution:
'[t]he investment desert is littered with the bones of those who bet on new paradigms.'Porter often says stuff that sounds stupid. His last newsletter, for example, identified newspapers -- yup, the dead-tree, ink-on-your-fingers kind -- as a buy. The last time he said something stupid like this, it was in fall 2002 and he said telecom stocks were going higher when all my colleagues figured it was Nuclear Winter, the end of telephony as we knew it. He was right, at least locally; by 2003 telecoms were up some 30%.
Porter and I have sparred over whether we're at the singular all time global peak of oil production, that is, whether we're entering a time when oil demand diverges permanently from supply, that is, a "paradigm shift" per above. I'm still betting on oil, but more fearfully than I was before.