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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Tobin Smith, Changewave Research; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Bob Olstein, The Olstein Funds; Eric Bolling, Independent Trader.
Trading Pit: Is the Worst Over for the Economy and Market?
Gary B. Smith: I think the worst is over, and here is why: Despite all the bad news (i.e.: retail sales numbers on Thursday), the Fed is always there (right now) to bail us out.
Add that to these facts: inflation isn't killing us (CPI report on Friday); the Fed is not only bailing out financials (via taking mortgage backed bonds) but will definitely reduce rates AGAIN next week; it is probable most financial institutions have written down most of their losses and profits will be big the next few quarters; unemployment is still near all-time lows; despite the hue and cry, median home prices have only pulled back to their long-term up-trend line.
Tobin Smith: NO the worst is NOT OVER, and will not be over until banks fess up to NEW write-downs for first quarter carnage…and blown up hedge funds liquidate-and mortgage default rates STOP CLIMBING. The economy continues to slowly contract as job losses throughout this summer.
We will be in official recession by August; the first two quarters will be flat-to-negative, and job losses will force the entity that declares such things to declare recession. The most important thing is that the market will bottom before the official determination! It always does!
Eric Bolling: Because of the stimulus, we will narrowly avoid a full-blown recession. The fiscal and monetary put in play will begin to make a difference soon. Also add in a touch of confidence…courtesy of S&P guidance and CPI, we will just make it out.
Bob Olstein: The economy is in a slight slowdown or recession and stays there until 2009. However... the stock market is a discounting mechanism. The market right now is 15 percent-20 percent undervalued on expected 2009 earnings. There are bargains all over the place.
I do see commodity inflation (energy prices) starting to tick down slightly. And I see corporate and investor liquidity at record levels, so there is cash out there waiting to get in.
Pat Dorsey: Whether or not we're technically in a recession is splitting hairs. The economy stinks, the housing mess is awful, and the market reflects that. The thing everyone is missing is the "market reflects that" part. For the patient investor, now is the time to be buying, not selling. I have no idea if the worst is over, but what I do know is that there are a ton of high-quality stocks whose prices already discount a lot of ugliness. Unless we have a Japan-like "lost decade" experience (a highly unlikely scenario, since we're actually taking the pain rather than avoiding it, as they did) forward-looking market returns should be solid from here.
Eliot Spitzer: Did Wall Street Lose a Friend or Foe?
Eric Bolling: Wall Street is losing a friend. He is friend of all of the honest hard working people who not only work on Wall Street, but everyone who has ever put a buck in the stock or bond market. He might be a foe to the big wigs, but not the majority of people!
Tobin Smith: Wall Street lost a total foe! His scorched earth approach to law enforcement turned innocents into criminals. It is great for Wall Street to have him out of our hair.
Bob Olstein: Wall Street lost neither a friend nor foe. He did clear up a mess, but unnecessarily stepped over the line for political purposes and hurt shareholders and companies not afflicted with any of the transgressions he sought to solve.
Gary B. Smith: Wall Street lost a foe. He brought few convictions, and was more bully than savior. Firms caved to him without the due process of law.
Stock X-Change: St. Patrick's Day Stock Party
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