Zweig: What Would Yogi Berra Would Say About the Bull Market

A recent article by Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig underscores the age of the current bull market, adding that if Yogi Berra were around he might put it this way: “All we can know for sure is that it’s later in this cycle than it used to be.”

Pointing out that this is the longest bull market for U.S. stocks on record, Zweig argues, “only a lunatic would think it can last indefinitely,” adding, “For now, at least, complacency seems to be more common than enthusiasm, suggesting the market isn’t about to overheat.”

He shares the following comments from industry players:

  • Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management: “I just don’t think the psychology is that euphoric right now. Most people are not risk-oblivious.”
  • Andrew Ang, head of factor investing strategies at BlackRock Inc.: “Economic growth is still relatively high, but the pace has been decelerating, putting us closer to the turning point. This is a time when investors should seek resilience in their portfolios.”
  • Doug Ramsey, chief investment officer at the Leuthold Group says, ‘There’s no slack in the economy,” adding that companies cannot sustain profitability growth while also tapping all available resources.

Zweig offers the following advice for investors:

  • Favor international stocks, which “on average offer significantly higher dividends and lower valuations than U.S. stocks.”
  • “Tilt a bit toward so-called quality companies that earn high and stable profits with low levels of debt, as well as toward low-volatility stocks whose prices tend to fluctuate less sharply than market averages.”
  • “Any changes you do make should be incremental rather than drastic. Protecting against losses if this bull market keels over could also restrict your gains when the next one starts to run again.”