Monday, October 5, 2009

The Case for Optimism by Gloomy Fund Managers

Wait a minute, I think I'm getting my stories confused...

A special report from BusinessWeek in August touted The Case for Optimism with headlines such as 'Why It's Smart To Be Optimistic', 'Signposts That Point to the Positive', 'The Vibrant Promise of Cities', 'Why the Statistics Point Toward Progress', and 'Keeping the Faith in Silicon Valley'.

There's even a video of CEO's from Dow Corning, Eastman Kodak, Intuit and others opining that beyond the issues facing the global economy currently, there are many underlying positives such as the power of technology and the recovery of the housing markets that give cause for optimism over the next few years.

There was also an article in the October 1 BusinessWeek that highlighted 'prominent fund managers' who are preparing their portfolios for a fourth quarter stock sell-off. Included are quotes such as:

I'm concerned we've put a Band-Aid over an infection.
The market's rally was driven by sentiment, and the fundamentals hadn't improved enough to justify those gains. There is still too much debt on corporate balance sheets, with around $2 trillion - or 65% - coming due in the next four years.
(in reference to the beginning of 2009) The world looked like it was going to end. And there's no point investing in an end-of-world scenario.

I guess in the magazine business it makes sense to take a stand as both a bear and a bull. No one will connect the dots when the articles are published two months apart, and then whatever happens in the future you can say that you were writing about that outcome months before it happened.

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