The Fed started hacking interest rates in 2007 and QE3 ended in October 2014. This 7-year period of extraordinary ease, and the nearly 3-year upswing since, has been a difficult time for many market contrarians and so called ‘bears’. To wit, Cornerstone has been missing since 2015, Contrary Investor hasn’t released anything publicly since 2013, and Cross Currents, Beartopia, Financial Armageddon, iTulip, Nystrom, Iacono, and numerous others have gone into deep hibernation. As for Prudent Bear, Tice sold his fund as the crisis began and now the site is trying to look prim and proper (I preferred it when a visit to Prudent Bear meant reading the ‘Bear’s Lair’ and seeing another Tice warning about the coming collapse in the stock market (which, of course, Mr. Tice is still warning of)).
As if to throw salt on a wound, in a recent post from the ‘Wall Street Bear’, which is still trying to growl, there is talk of ‘new paradigm’ and speculation of the sacrilege:
“Starting to seem like there will never be another bear market.”
Yes, these are tough times. What’s a lonely market bear to do?
To be fair, there is still Grant, Faber, Hussman, Rogers, Taleb, Schiff, Chanos, Noland, Long, and many other thoughtful contrarians out there, but the overriding bear message is not as flamboyant or exciting as yesterday. Moreover, when disgraced former Fed Chairman Greenspan – arguably the grandfather of today’s monetary madness – is making an extreme bearish call something is amiss. The bearish gunslingers of yesterday were promoting books while screaming their book and got verbally attacked and/or thrown off the air. Today’s ‘bears’, like Gundlach, are turning away money and suggest “gradualistically moving toward the exits”?? For the record, starving bears are never full and the word “gradualistically” is too complex for a real frothing at the mouth bear to even utter (and yes, one must keep their sense of humor during these difficult times).
Suffice to say, the marketplace has gone from attacking outcast bears to being comatized by Fed-induced tranquility. And while a day of reckoning for artificial markets still lurks, the timing of this turbulence is uncertain. To be sure, there is no major bull/bear debate to inspire fire and brimstone today, but instead a general sentiment that while things may not be that great they certainly could be a lot worse. In this world of indifference central bankers do not get an honoring knighthood or have their mugshot on Time magazine, but they also don’t get publicly scolded by Ron Paul or Alan Grayson; in this world the contrarian voice grows quiet, at least for a moment, even if the ‘bears’ are not scrambling to buy Bitcoin and Tesla…