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Friday, July 13, 2007

Flight to Quality

by Tanta on 7/13/2007 10:18:00 AM

Hey! It's Friday the 13th! Anybody want to buy a subprime mortgage company?

No? How about some hodge-podge funds?

No? How about some nice European corporate debt? We hear it deteriorates only "gradually."

Oh well. There's always treasuries . . .

Or stocks:

Consider the latest reading of the Hulbert Stock Newsletter Sentiment Index (HSNSI), which reflects the average recommended stock market exposure among a subset of short-term market timing newsletters tracked by the Hulbert Financial Digest. As of Thursday night, the HSNSI stood at 40.6%.

In contrast, at the stock market's late-February high, when the Dow was below 12,800, the HSNSI stood at 62.4%.

This is an amazing contrast. The stock market, in fits and starts, has managed to tack on more than a thousand points while simultaneously pushing the average market timer away from the bullish camp.

Normally, of course, advisers become more bullish and exuberant as the stock market rises. The fact that just the reverse happened over the last three months is quite unusual - and bullish.

To appreciate why, it can be helpful to imagine a bull market as a bucking bronco in a rodeo, trying its darndest to throw everyone off its back on the way to the other side of the ring. By doing exactly what it's supposed to do, this bull market is revealing itself to be very healthy indeed.

Okie dokie.