10,000 Forever?

April 15, 2002

Is it me, or does it seem like the Dow has been kicking around 10,000 forever? Forever actually started in 1999 when the Dow first broke 10,000. It's been kicking around in the 9,000 - 11,000 range ever since. That's actually pretty good compared to other large-cap indexes like the NASDAQ and the S&P500. Fortunately, none of our fund picks in our model portfolios own much of these types of go-nowhere, slow, large-cap stocks.

The basic problem in the market is that there is too much money in it and on deck for it to fall sharply, yet too little in the way of fundamentals to warrant prices moving much higher. It could go on like this for years more. Like we've said for a couple years now, the days of broad market indexing your way to nice gains are behind us. Excess money ruins returns. That's why we always keep an eye on where everybody wants to invest - then start looking elsewhere.

The first quarter just ended, and it looks like we are well on our way to the third year of tech and large-cap growth losses. This is not supposed to happen. We've been brainwashed into thinking stocks mostly go up, with brief SHORT spells downward. And anytime there is a real pullback, say like the NASDAQ dropping over 65%, you have the buying opportunity of a lifetime.

You've been lied to. The fact is, if valuations get too out of wack, as they did with large-cap growth stocks and tech stocks in the late 90s, it can take years, if not decades, for fundamentals to catch up with the puffery. Just look at Japan; there are some investors who bought into that miracle market that sported triple digit P/Es in 1990 who are still down over 75%.

Adding to the problem, of course, is the fact that what little fundamentals (earnings, revenues, etc.) some of these former wonder stocks sported turned out to be a little - how should I put it - massaged. Two years ago, the most common phrase in the Wall Street Journal was "new economy"; today, it is "earnings irregularities."

Other areas of concern are the recent rise in oil prices brought on by spreading troubles in areas very close to where the fuel for our economy, not to mention our 14 MPG highway SUV's, comes from. Not good for an economy sputtering back to life.

So what does all this mean for our model portfolios? Take a look at our Model Portfolios homepage for info. Also, please read our portfolio comments on each model portfolio's page for specific fund details related to each portfolio.