Goodbye Polar Vortex, Hello Market Bears
Polar vortex be gone! At long last, the end of this terrible winter of discontent is nearing. We can say with some degree of confidence that the light at the end of tunnel is not an oncoming locomotive.
Today is very likely to be the pivot day marking the end of this endless season. With temperatures in New York City and its environs in the teens, warmer, sunnier days await. Tomorrow we move into the 40s, the weekend will even see the 50s. Cheer as March ends with higher average temperatures than it began with. Celebrate the crocuses pushing up through the frozen ground. A full run of blossoms begin to tentatively show their selves in April, after hiding the cold season below ground.
Rejoice, sufferers of SAD -- seasonal affective disorder -- the clocks will mercifully get nudged forward, bringing an extra hour of daylight into the darkness of our days. The spring equinox is merely 10 days after, and for the next six months you can enjoy more sunlight than darkness (weather permitting).
Hibernation has never looked as good as it did this year. Perhaps the market's ongoing rally is a testament to the evolutionary intelligence of market's bears. The ursine crowd seems to have disappeared, but do not be fooled. They have simply returned to their caves to sleep, waiting out the short and fiercely cold days of deep winter and quantitative easing. Despite the occasional growl, they have not been unusually silent of late. Do not for a moment believe you are safe from their sharp claws and fierce demeanor. Any northern hiker will tell you that complacency is dangerous; the grizzlies return when you least expect them. 'Tis better to keep a sharp eye for tell tale signs, and beware of bear tracks in the market. Its never so obvious as footprints; rather, a subtle trail of volume and market breadth.
The incoming spring will be a boon to the economy. No more weather-related adjustments to retail sales. (Who ever imagined it got cold and snowed in the winter? How could any retailer ever have anticipated that?) List those houses for sale! Shop for summer shares in the Hamptons! Go lease that convertible!
Closer to home, it is time to clean those grills, de-winterize your boats, close up the ski house.
The change in seasons is every bit as inevitable as the change in the market cycle, if not quite as regular and predictable. Just as this winter will end, so too, one day this bull cycle will reach the end of its natural life. The end of winter is closer, and more predictable than the end of the bull market. Some of you may be hedging your long equity positions. Me? I am getting the suntan lotion out.
Rejoice! Spring is upon us.
(Barry Ritholtz writes about finance, the economy and the business world for Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter at @Ritholtz.)
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.
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