By Peter Switzer, Switzer Super Report
Another month and another challenge for investors and I suspect it will get worse before it gets better. However, I maintain my argument that this post-election, pre-fiscal-cliff-solution anxiety will create a buying opportunity ahead of a December rebound, which should roll into January.
And all of this underlines one argument of my favourite investor ? Warren Buffett ? which I disagree with. I will deal with that later.
Nearing the fiscal cliff
Wall Street has shed around 5% since Barack Obama took the prize in the US poll and now there are a collection of forces that make it easy for short-sellers and hedge funds to get a bit of action before some sort of settlement of the 'fiscal cliff' issues arrives.
However, there are other drivers hurting investor confidence right now, but I don't think any rival the fear generated out of the fiscal cliff. Right now Obama has made it clear that tax cuts must remain, but not for America's wealthiest, and this shows that even if the cliff is mastered, there could still be issues for markets, say if capital gains and dividend taxes are ratcheted up.
That said, I still will be punting that markets will spike on the cliff solution, just as they have fallen ahead of the negotiations, which both were predicted by Lance Lai and Gary Stone in this newsletter.
Don't forget Greece
On the other negative issues helping drive share prices down we have the Greeks waiting for debt help from the European Union after passing their budget, but there are protests daily with the economy contracting for a 17th quarter in a row! It is now 7.2% smaller than last year!
Across Europe there is unrest over austerity measures, but against that, company results have been pretty promising. Strikes in Spain and Portugal shut transport links across the Iberian Peninsula overnight and this didn't help European stock markets. However, these markets are also affected by the USA's fiscal cliff issues.
Not helping matters, oil prices spurted higher as tensions in the Middle East raised supply concerns after Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Time to buy?
All of these make it sensible for shorter-term traders to take profit and wait for buying opportunity signs to kick in. Some US market experts are already buying now, but it could be too early and this is where I take issue with Buffett.
Sure I agree that you should be careful about news headlines when it comes to buying and selling shares, but sometimes headlines can help.
If a headline warns that a government is thinking about changing laws that could affect a company's profitability, then they are valuable alerts. A resignation of a great CEO being replaced by an unknown can be valuable.
Gary and Lance's warnings have been timely news items, which would have helped short-term players bank profit and I think news will be vital in working out when to buy into this pull back. News can be late, exaggerated or inadequate, but it has relevance ? that's why this newsletter, website and service exists.
Of course, I select the companies in my portfolio on the criteria Buffett uses ? quality companies, dividend payers, and great brand names with top management. But if Obama and the Congress drive down stock prices and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) ends up at $55, then that's the news I want to hear because I would want to be a buyer then!
Watch this space and I will break the news when Lance, Gary and yours truly are ready to buy.