Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is the Stock Market a Fair Game Any More?

Individual investors generally fled the stock market after the 2008 financial crisis and have not returned.  Instead, they have shifted money from stock funds to bond funds, in massive amounts and for many months.  There is no sign of this shifting.  The early explanations centered on the volatility of markets and the aversion of individuals to subject their portfolios to such wide swings.  I think a growing reason is that the stock market is no longer considered a fair shot for the average investor.

The lack of prosecution of key heads of financial firms after the 2008 financial collapse and the government bailouts that followed, shook the confidence of the average investor.  But it doesn't seem any better today.  

Recent news reports of rigged interest rates by Barclay's bank in the U.K., and the NY Times report that hedge funds have been getting previews of Wall Street analysts' reports and recommendations give no reason for average investors to return to the stock market.

Until there are actions that change the view that those at the top are protected and have the equivalent of inside information, it's no wonder that individual investors have embraced  bonds (even though the end may be near for the multi-year bond bull market).

Steve Lehman

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely right. During the S&L crisis there were 1,000 prosecutions of bankers, compared to the current crisis: about 0. Thanks also for calling attention to hedge funds - their stellar returns now seem to have more to do with a stellar performance at obtaining insider information - obtained from the Street as well as the halls of congress.