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Aaron Brown

TINA Is Still the Only Wall Street Acronym That Matters

Are you with TINA or TARA? That’s a trick question. By shunning stocks when their prospects seem poor and alternatives seem enticing, you will miss more rallies than crashes. 

Bull markets are inevitable.

Bull markets are inevitable.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In financial markets, the acronym TINA stands for “ there is no alternative” and is typically uttered by investment analysts and advisors in reference to equities. It’s most often bandied about when the performance of stocks is disappointing and their future prospects seem anemic, yet valuations remain high. Even if there are no good reasons to buy stocks at the moment, TINA argues investors should stay in the market because there’s no other place to go.

Starting about six months ago, analysts from top Wall Street firms began attacking TINA, claiming there are actually good alternatives to stocks for investors. For example, on Sept. 26, the strategists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. promoted TARA — “there are reasonable alternatives” — over TINA, recommending investors underweight stocks in favor of cash. In hindsight, that was not a good choice, as stocks have rebounded almost 10% above inflation, while a Treasury bill has returned 1.7%, roughly the same as inflation.