"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble" (from William Shakespeare's Macbeth).
These lines of Shakespeare are a perfect accompaniment to today's New York Times Magazine article by Roger Lowenstein entitled "See a Bubble?". Like the three witches in Macbeth Americans today are anxiously watching the financial cauldron bubble, hoping to brew a potion that will ward off imminent disaster.
Here's Lowenstein's opening paragraph:
"It's a good time to be a financial-disaster writer. Disasters abound, and even when they don't, people are eager for your opinion on when the next bubble is going to pop. Scarcely a day goes by without a warning of some dire calamity - in the dollar, in housing values, in pension funds. The way people crave financial info, we must be the best-informed, most economically literate society ever. But we do not sleep any better for it. Is all the anxiety warranted, or even productive?"
My own answer to Lowenstein's (rhetorical) question is that all the anxiety is NOT warranted and is NOT productive. That Lowenstein can write this article and the New York Times publish it is ample evidence of my basic contention, one I have repeated on the blog many times: people are very worried about the future and bearish in general on financial assets. Under such conditions I think there is no chance that the stock market averages can drop over the next six to nine months.