Jeff’s Note: On behalf of our team over here at the Market Minute, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
We’re thankful for all of our readers and subscribers out there. Our office will be closed today and tomorrow… so be safe, relax, and stay tuned for Monday’s essay…
Yesterday, I discovered a turkey carcass on the hillside behind my house.
I guess coyotes celebrate Thanksgiving too.
On the previous morning, I stood on my porch and watched a flock of wild turkeys scratching around my backyard, hunting for whatever it is that turkeys hunt for. It seemed odd to me that these birds felt so comfortable in my presence.
Didn’t they know Thanksgiving was this week? Didn’t they know a relative of theirs was on the menu? Didn’t they fear they’d be put on the menu as well?
I ventured off the porch and walked out among the feathered creatures – they hardly noticed me.
Oh sure, if I got within a few feet of any of them, the flock would saunter away in the opposite direction. But, rather than cackling and flapping their wings and scattering, they casually just strolled away – putting a little extra distance between us.
“Pretty darned relaxed,” I thought – for turkeys to be so fearless and complacent this close to Thanksgiving.
They reminded me of investors.
On Monday, the CBOE Put/Call ratio – one of the best tools for measuring investor sentiment – closed at 0.70. That’s one of the lowest levels of the year. Folks are jumping over themselves buying speculative call options.
Investors, just like the turkeys that frolicked in my backyard, are relaxed and comfortable – maybe too comfortable.
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Of course, that’s what happens when the stock market makes new highs just about every day… And, that’s what happens when the biggest declines we get are just one or two percent, and last only a couple of days.
Investors, like country-club turkeys, stop worrying about the potential dangers of their environment.
For the past month or so, we’ve been warning about the dangers of complacency. But, when stocks are running higher, no one wants to hear that sort of thing.
It’s kind of like the grandmother who hurries through the sand to tell all the teenagers at the beach party to wear sunscreen. The teenagers nod politely and thank her for her advice. But then they roll their eyes once she moves on.
Of course, at the end of the day, someone always gets burned.
It seems as though almost everyone is bullish right now. Traders are buying call options like crazy. The talking heads in the financial media are suggesting there’s nothing to worry about. It’s nothing but blue skies and new highs for the stock market.
At this point, though, with the S&P 500 hitting a record high – and with the Dow trading around 36,000 – it may make sense to cackle, flap our wings wildly, and scatter in all directions.
Otherwise, we might end up as coyote food.
Best regards and good trading,
Do you think the markets are getting a little too complacent during these historic new highs? If so, should they be “scattering” more like Jeff suggests?
Let us know your thoughts – and any questions you have – at [email protected].