The Stock Market and Dead Cats Bouncing

The Stock Market and Dead Cats

Dead cat stock market bounces are “A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, after which the market continues to fall.” (Investopedia)

Hypothesis: Dead cats bounce.

If dead cats bounce, the metaphor is useful when predicting stock market trends.

Dead cats bounce along Wall Street after short sellers cover their yet-to-be-owned stock. Their doubt about the market’s continued price-drop prompts them to buy the stock (ie. cover their short position).

Dead cats bounce along Wall Street when investors cover their option positions. Their action may encourage false hopes of a bounce in the markets.

Dead cats bounce along Wall Street when speculating investors throw a dart at Wall Street “blue light specials” (for you KMart shoppers). When checking their purchase in the Sunday papers, they find their shares for sale at a deeper discount.

Dead Cats Don’t Bounce…They’re Dead!

The dead cat bounce is a silly idiom; no experiment I know of proves a dead cat bounces. No economist or analyst predicts dead cat bounces in the stock market consistently.

An ancient test for a prophet requires exact and fulfilled predictions every time, not some of the time.

Stock market moves are not dead or alive, bullish or bearish unless investors make them so. Momentum comes when the greater number of investors take action that opposes other investors. This makes momentum possible.

Most importantly, you don’t know until you presume the cat bounced. Predicting market direction expresses chutzpah blended with keen observations.
You may be right, but the likelihood of accurate and successive predictions confirms the unparalleled dimensions of uncertainty.

Market optimism or pessimism occurs when a mass of people make the result theoretically probable. The determination or prediction of probable outcome never eliminates uncertainty unless there are glaring market anomalies (**see Robert Schiller).

The Pareto Principle

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s principle asserts that 80% of value comes from 20% of those who have the potential to create value. The calculations do not support the 80/20 rule every time, but at minimum the concept retains its assertion.

Therefore, 80% of market analysts are right 20% of the time or 80% of stock market predictions are right 20% of the time. As with all predictions, there’s no certainty of which prediction is right.

For me, further proof that asset allocation, with static weighting and dynamic investment methods works when market anomalies lack affect.

Pareto said, “If dead cats bounce, they’ll only bounce 20% of the time.”

When Vilfredo’s cat died, he did not drop her stiff body out of his bedroom window to see if she’d bounce.

“It is a maxim of empirical economics that if you torture the data sufficiently, they will confess.”
(Stephen A. Marglin, The Dismal Science “How Thinking Like An Economist Undermines Community” (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008) 122.

Empirical economics is distinct from theoretical economic theory or the fundamental distinction between deductive and inductive economic ideas.

Is this a stock market dead cat bounce?

We’ll all know in six months.

“If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd.” – John Templeton

Templeton is right, but most of us act according to John Emerson’s views posted on Scienceblogs.com.

Economists have always had trouble with bubbles, like the one we just experience (sic), and this is partly because not only are people not totally rational and not only do they not have perfect knowledge, but besides that, they communicate with one another, so the irrationality is not randomly distributed so that the irrational individuals are weeded out, but can pervade a whole population.

What will the maddening crowds do? Uncertainty prevails for the moment. We may presume, I think, that Americans possess an unwavering commitment toward work and prosperity, and these ethics should become evident in the value of stocks.

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