Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wealth in the balance

Last Thursday and Friday, the stock market plummeted. Is this a temporary correction before bursting through to a new high, or a sign of more pain to come?

What makes the stock market endlessly fascinating is that nobody knows the answer. But every day people make their best guess. Mine is that the potential downsides outweigh the upsides.



  • Corporate balance sheets. With lower tax rates, a reluctance to shoulder heavy debt, a cautious attitude towards capital investment, and the use of outsourcing to limit employee cost inflation, corporate balance sheets are strong. This positions many companies to survive an economic downturn; and
  • GDP growth strong. The first quarter 2006 GDP report suggested significant economic resilience. A 20.6% increase in durable goods orders was particularly notable in light of the 16.6% decline in the previous quarter.
In my view, these risks outweigh the upside -- potentially translating into a negative stock market outlook. What's your view?


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