The Irrational Exuberance of Markets in Q1

The Irrational Exuberance of Markets in Q1

The markets crashed by 40% on 23rd March, when India had 600 Covid case, no Covid death and a lockdown had just been announced. Now, when we have a close to a million cases and more than 20000 deaths, the market is up 40% from its March lows with no immediate economic recovery in sight.

Whenever the market shows an extremely irrational exuberant behaviour, I remember a story Ben Graham, the legendary investor and the Guru of Warren Buffet, told 40 years ago that illustrates why investors behave as they do:

 “An oil prospector, moving to his heavenly reward, was met by St. Peter with bad news.

“You’re qualified for residence”, said St. Peter,“but, as you can see, the compound reserved for oil men is packed. There’s no way to squeeze you in.”

After thinking a moment, the prospector asked if he might say just four words to the present occupants.

That seemed harmless to St. Peter, so the prospector cupped his hands and yelled, “Oil discovered in hell.”

Immediately the gate to the compound opened and all of the oil men marched out to head for the nether regions. Impressed, St. Peter invited the prospector to move in and make himself comfortable.

The prospector paused. “No,” he said, “I think I’ll go along with the rest of the boys.

There might be some truth to that rumour after all.”

That is how the stock market works, the role rumours play in the market and how no one is spared.

 A lot of our investors have been calling up, asking about the reasons for the defiance the stock market is showing to all known traditional market parameters.

As mentioned in our last Blog, various market commentators are attributing this linear rise from the lows of March to various factors and theories like, excess of liquidity chasing quality, “Robinhood Trades”, “The only casino which is operational”, Hope rally, FOMO Rally , “The greater Fool Theory” and many more reasons.

On this occasion, I remember the famous Charlie Munger quote on the stock market movements : “If you are not confused by what is going on, then you don’t understand what is going on”

 Frankly, A  lot of investors can see and are experiencing the pain on the ground and are thus amazed by this exuberance of the sharp rise after the sharp fall. Many have been also been sitting on cash since Mid-May waiting for a correction,the inevitable “Minsky Moment”to enter the market. Patience is wearing thin and the “investors” have started nibbling with the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on this rally. The “Big Daddy” of the market is not helping the cause with his 14th announcement in 12 weeks and other major big ticket announcements expected in all his verticals in the coming weeks if not days.

Most of the surge in volume is by day traders, a fact also reinforced by the surge in new Dmat account openings in the Apr-Jun period when more than two million new accounts were opened and as many dormant accounts got active. Most of these new investors don’t realise it, but trading is a zero sum game. It is mostly a Hyper Pareto situation wherein the winners make a lot of money- say 5% traders make 90% of the money and 95% of the traders lose money never to come back and to get permanently disillusioned from Equity as an asset class.

One thing that we learnt very early on in this market is that never try to predict the market and especially so in the short run. There are too many variables involved for anyone to forecast and build a short term successful model for the market.

We may disagree with the market but we have learnt not to question, but to respect the verdict of the market especially so in the short term. We have understood that the only truth about the market is uncertainty and never try to forecast what is happening or going to happen in the near future.

Every market movement teaches us that the market is supreme, it teaches us humility and how much more we need to learn. 

However we are all human and still like to look for patterns; the human brain is trained to try and simplify things, something which can help us understand what is happening and to try and gain from it. As humans we can’t ignore and can’t avoid using shortcuts as much as it may be contrary to a sound investment philosophy.

However, Let’s try and analyse what limited data is available and join the numbers with the narrative that we are experiencing in the daily life, to get an idea on the way forward.

Some things in the market never change; the retail investors always get the short end of the stick. This time too, most market reports and the limited data available, points out to the fact that retail interest in the market has increased with both FPI and Domestic Mutual funds reducing their daily turnover substantially from about 20% and 10% of the market turnover in May 20 and also in June 19. On top of that, the average daily trading volume on both NSE and BSE is double that of June 2019, thus proving that the incremental growth is coming from retail and HNI participation.

Most of the surge in volume is by day traders, a fact also reinforced by the surge in new Dmat account openings in the Apr-Jun period when more than two million new accounts were opened and as many dormant accounts got active. Most of these new investors don’t realise it, but trading is a zero sum game. It is mostly a Hyper Pareto situation wherein the winners make a lot of money- say 5% traders make 90% of the money and 95% of the traders lose money never to come back and to get permanently disillusioned from Equity as an asset class.

Look for value and not price. Look for the sustainable business models post Covid, look for economic moats, look for good governance, look for low debt, and finally look for the narrative behind the number.

Don’t be in a hurry to invest, keep nibbling, keep SIPping; the market is not going to go anywhere in a hurry.

Stay invested because you can’t time the market, no one can, and don’t miss the mother of bull runs which is definitely going to start post Covid.

As the saying goes, “Apna time Ayega”; till then remain invested and stay safe.

Invest wisely!

Stay Blessed Forever

Sandeep Sahni

Kindly check our earlier blog on a similar subject : Investment Lessons from Mythology at https://sahayakgurukul.blogspot.com/2019/03/investment-lessons-from-mythology.html OR https://www.sahayakassociates.in/resources/our-blog/2553-sahayak-associates/sahayak-associates-blog/8435-investment-lessons-from-mythology 

Note: All information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not constitute any professional advice or service. Readers are requested to consult a financial advisor before investing as investments are subject to Market Risks.About The author

About The author

Sandeep Sahni

Sandeep Sahni

After completing his schooling from St. Johns, Chandigarh (Class of 1980) and Modern School, New Delhi, (Class of 1982) Sandeep did his B. Com (Hons.) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University (Class of 1985)

Sandeep is an alum of IIM Lucknow with a Post Graduate Degree (MBA class of 1988).

He has also written two books, ‘Dear Son, Life Lessons from a Father’on the teachings of Life https://www.amazon.in/dp/1637815271 and the Second book which he has Co Authored titled, ‘What My MBA Didn’t teach me about Money’ on the Human and Financial perspective of money. https://www.amazon.in/dp/1637816502

He has a rich work experience and started his career as a corporate man with Asian Paints after IIML. He has a rich experience covering the FMCG, Food Distribution, Cold Chain, Logistics, and Hospitality Industries. He is currently in the Wealth Management and Personal Finance domain. He has a passion for finance and is an active speaker on topics in finance. The stories he narrates strike a chord close to his heart, as they are based on events from his own life. He believes in a holistic view of Personal Finance.

Sandeep’s investing experience and study of the Financial Markets spans over 30 years. He is based in Chandigarh and is advising more than 500 clients across the globe on Financial Planning and Wealth Management.

He has promoted “Sahayak Gurukul” which is an attempt to share thoughts and knowledge on aspects related to Personal Finance and Wealth Management. Sahayak Gurukul provides financial insights into the markets, economy and Investments. Whether you are new to the personal finance domain or a professional looking to make your money work for you, the Sahayak Gurukul blogs and workshops are curated to demystify investing, simplify complex personal finance topics and help investors make better decisions about their money.

Alongside, Sandeep conducts regular Investor Awareness Programs and workshops for Training of Mutual Fund Distributors, and workshops and seminars on Financial Planning for Corporate groups, Teachers, Doctors and Other professionals.

Through his interactions and workshops, Sandeep works towards breaking the myths and illusions about money and finance.

His passion has driven him towards career counselling for young adults and mentoring the youngsters on achieving their life goals and becoming “Successful Humans”

He also writes a well-read blog; https://sahayakgurukul.blogspot.com

He has also conducted presentations, workshops and guest lectures at professional colleges and management institutes for students on Financial Planning and Wealth Creation.

He can be reached at:

+91-9888220088, 9814112988,
sandeepsahni@sahayakassociates.in

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