This could have been the most interesting quarter I have ever seen in the market. I usually have CNBC on mute in the background, but every once in a while, I find myself compelled to turn on the sound as they are actually talking about something interesting. We saw the rise of the retail trader (they actually almost took down a hedge fund), the rise of the meme stock, Non Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”), emerging technologies, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”), the vaccine rollout, and many others.
There are a couple of big lessons learned from the quarter:
- As I said yesterday, good luck trying to time this market, and good luck with a “set it and forget it” passive strategy.
- The retail trader is doing some good research and they are not going anywhere. What they do and say now matters; ignore them at your peril.
- Thematic investing is not going anywhere. Investors are not looking for another index or smart beta exchange traded fund (“ETF”) but are wanting products that can help them make sense of all the things that are going on in the market. This is a global phenomenon. We are hearing that Hong Kong wants to start listing ETFs, but they really only want thematic ones.
- The “market” as it once was perceived no longer exists. In the past, if you asked me what the market was doing, I didn’t need to ask you which one. Now, whether you are looking at the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, Russell 2000, etc., each can be performing differently. There is no one market that encapsulates all that is going on. Day by day, one has little idea where the action is going to be.
- Reversion to the mean is important. If you are thinking of buying something that’s been hot, chances are it has already gone too far, too fast. If you are patient, there’s a good chance it will come back to you a bit.
- There may be another Archegos out there and we probably won’t know about it until it blows up.
- The smart money may not be that smart.
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