The ‘Everything Bubble’ May Not Be a Bubble at All

The ‘Everything Bubble’ May Not Be a Bubble at All

Investors concerned about market exuberance may have complained for years about the Everything Bubble, but a recent Wall Street Journal article suggests that it may be “in the imagination of the many investors complaining about it.”

The article defines the Everything Bubble as a market environment of rapidly rising share prices that “suck in buyers hoping to make money quickly, who carry out little due diligence and don’t worry much about the long-term prospects of what they’re buying…And the bubble is usually inflated by cheap money.”

The article debunks the “everything” aspect, however, noting that oil stocks are “in a terrible place,” retailers are struggling, banks are down 30% so far for the year in the U.S. (and doing even more poorly in Europe) and travel and tourism stocks are “in a hole.”

The evidence against the bubble characterization is even more compelling, the article argues, with the S&P 500 hitting new highs “amid recession and the breakdown of the geopolitical order.” Although signs of excess do exist, it suggests that the current climate is “driven by the competing forces of the price of money and the economic outlook, rather than the amount of money.”

The article contends that the market is pricing a “weak economy propped up by never-ending support from central banks.” If the Fed signals an end to its current support, it says, then prices will no longer make sense. “Similarly,” it notes, “If the pandemic recedes and the economy recovers more quickly than expected, investors will get a shock.”

“Investors aren’t irrationally buying just anything just because money is cheap: they are rationally buying the things that benefit,” the article concludes, adding, “This could, of course, turn into a bubble, which would end when reality intrudes on prices stretched too far into fantasyland.”

Photo: Copyright: / klublub