Old Bears, Young Bulls and Middle Aged Bearistas

A few weeks ago I switched my Twitter Handle to ‘Bearista‘.

Sometimes, my Twitter handle is my mood ring for the markets. I take this mood with me from eyeing the Stocktwits data every day and over time.

When I am confused about the markets I just make one up.

I chose ‘bearista’ because it’s how I would label myself if I was bearish. A real cool bear would work in a high end coffee shop and with each coffee made and delivered to a customer I would offer a bearish/doomsday economic thought. A bearista. A hip bear. A bear the bulls adored not ridiculed.

According to Mike, I’m just in between the move from young bull to old bear. His post titled ‘Young Bulls and Old Bears‘ is dead on.

What do Bill Gross, Sam Zell, Jeremy Grantham and Carl Icahn have in common? They’re all old, they’ve all had brilliant careers, and they’re all bearish on the stock market. (From April 2016)

Whether it be in music or in sports or in markets, the prior generation never thinks “kids” will ever measure up. Even Benjamin Graham- the man who basically invented value investing- fell victim to the “get off my lawn syndrome.”

From Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.

I am no longer an advocate of elaborate techniques of security analysis in order to find superior value opportunities. This was a rewarding activity, say, 40 years ago, when our textbook “Graham & Dodd” was first published; but the situation has changed

Young bulls and old bears is as old as the hills. In Ten Years In Wall Street- which was published in 1870- William Worthington Fowler wrote “Wall Street operators commence their career as bulls, and finish it as bears.”

This was written 150 years ago and it’s still true today. Why? Because it’s easy to be optimistic when you’re young and you have your whole life ahead of you. And it’s normal for people that are several decades past their prime not to understand the world around them and therefore be less optimistic.

If I had to chart the progression of how this works, it would look something like this.

How do I know I am a bearista?

This text exchange I had with my buddy Paul yesterday who follows my portfolio on Koyfin seals it:

Paul – ‘You are on quite a roll’

Me – Never lasts….’

Paul – A Yogi Berraism – ‘It’s never over ’til it’s over’

Me – It’s inning 70.

My daughter Rachel likes the handle. I wanted to go with ‘bullista’ but she shot that down and said go with ‘bearista’. She might just be an ageist.

Mike has me thinking I am on my way to being grumpy all the time.