Things People Say During a Bull Market

Here are some things you’ve probably been hearing during the current bull market from a wide range of investors including some tongue-in-cheek translations about what they really mean.

On Fair Value:

Bears: We think the market’s fair value is much lower than current levels. (Translation: We have to say it’s way lower than the level where we called for a crash four years ago.)

Bulls: We think the market is fairly valued at current levels. (Translation: I have no idea what the fair value of the market is and neither does anyone else.)

Investment Strategists: If earnings grow at a consistent rate forever into the future and you slap a P/E ratio of 16x on the market we think stocks will rise 8-10% this year. (Translation: Stocks are up 3 out of every 4 years so if I keep predicting this I’m bound to be right eventually.)

Value Investors: The market is overvalued but our stocks are trading at a 30-40% discount to fair value.

Growth Investors: The monthly active user numbers are off the charts for this 3 person company that’s worth $50 billion.

On Market Gains:

Bears: It’s all artificial. (Translation: I didn’t participate.)

Bulls: We’re constructive from here and see a period of consolidation. (Translation: Please don’t fall, we’re all in).

On Sentiment:

Bears: Everyone is all in on the market. These people are delusional. No one sees the risks building up under the surface.

Bulls: Everyone is still bearish. Stocks climb the wall of worry.

On Interest Rates:

Everyone: Rates are going higher.

On Reading Material:

Bears: Did you read Hussman’s latest piece?

Bulls: Did you see what Siegel wrote today?

How it All Ends:

Bears: This will end badly (Translation: I will be gloating during the next bear market but will be too scared to buy).

Bulls: We predict a soft landing with a healthy correction that will make for a nice buying opportunity. (Translation: I will be too scared to buy during the next bear market.)

Private Equity: We have plenty of dry powder for the distressed opportunities that will arise from the next crisis. (Translation: All of that money will be used to shore up current investments that run into trouble.)

On Corrections:

Bulls: A 3% loss is the new 10% correction.

On Bubbles:

Bears: Biotech? Bubble. U.S. stocks? Bubble. Bonds? Bubble. Gold? Not a bubble. It’s going to $5,000 an ounce.

Bulls: This is not a bubble. The technology boom and bust of the 1990s, now that was a bubble.

Venture Capitalists: It’s a new era, not a bubble. We’re changing the world one app at a time.

On Strategies:

Index Investors: I’m a long-term investor through thick and thin (Translation: I become a long-term investor during bull markets.)

Active Investors: Yes, we’ve underperformed, but we will protect you during the next bear market (Translation: A few of us will and we really hope it’s us.)


Further Reading:
Some Things You Will Never (Rarely) Hear From a Portfolio Manager
Excuses For Underperforming the Market

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  1. 10 Wednesday AM Reads | The Big Picture commented on Apr 29

    […] don’t want diversity in asset management? (CIO) • Things People Say During a Bull Market (A Wealth of Common Sense) see also How I learned to stop worrying and love the missing CapEx (Humble Student of the […]

  2. Digitking commented on Apr 29

    Nothing ever beats:
    “We’re cautiously optimistic with a slight bias to the upside”

    • Ben commented on Apr 29

      Right. You’re never wrong if you’re both cautious and optimistic. I always wonder why no one has ever said they’re recklessly pessimistic?

  3. Mark Massey commented on Apr 29

    I love this, Ben. If you can do an article on sell-side analysts regarding their lingo and tendencies (after stock drops 50%, rating changes from buy to “underperform”; stock price rises 50%, rating changes from “market perform” to ” strong buy”), it would be entertaining. In your article, you should do a “deep dive” into the subject in order to provide appropriate “color” and “granularity” on this “space”. Haha.

  4. Bob Carlson » Bull Market Quotes commented on May 01

    […] Are is a list of things people say a lot during bull markets, along with some sarcastic rephrasings. See how many you’ve heard recently. […]