Interesting excerpts from investing newsletters:
"With three straight years of relentless declines, some market commentators are warning that we are in the early stages of a 'secular bear market.' The sentiment is more than understandable considering that this is easily one of the worst bear markets ever. As of the Oct. 9, 2002, low, the Dow had fallen 38 percent from its January 2000 bull-market peak. . . . Using the Dow as the benchmark, the bear market has been in effect for 999 [as of Feb. 9, 2003, it's 1,016] calendar days. That's the longest decline in the market's history and is more than twice the average length of all the bear markets since 1900."
-- Dan Sullivan
Seal Beach, Calif.
"Our peace dividend -- not only in terms of lower defense expenditures, but U.S. domination of (and benefits from) free capital markets and free trade -- is nearing an end. We will experience a somewhat vicious cycle of policy reversals instead of the virtuous circle of recent decades, which led to higher profits and lower inflation. In the reversal's wake will come subdued profits, higher inflation, a lower dollar and anemic financial returns. . . . [Investors], both bond and equity, should put these secular reversals at the top of their 'A' list when considering opportunities to make relative and absolute returns. Hegemonic decay will impose costs unimagined just 16 months ago during the innocent hours of Sept. 10, 2001."
-- William H. Gross
Newport Beach, Calif.
"From a technical point of view, the market's recent lethargy reflects a lack of speculative activity. NASDAQ volume is running at about the levels of the New York Stock Exchange, which is comparable to conditions in 1994 and 1998. Margin debt has contracted considerably. . . . Retail investors who do not have to be in the stock market find little motivation for investing. They don't think they are missing anything. Institutional investors are pretty fully invested and are cautious with their cash. If the war uncertainties subside, both the economy and stock market should do better as indecisiveness erodes and conviction increases."
-- Byron R. Wien
"Our 2002 portfolio had 90 percent of its assets allocated to stocks and stock indexes in an attempt to 'benefit from the beginnings of an economic recovery in the United States.' Unfortunately, the economic recovery was slower and weaker than expected. . . . Our 2002 portfolio reflected this, losing 11.75 percent. . . . For 2003, our portfolio is going to be more conservative, with 60 percent invested in stocks and stock indexes and 40 percent in Series I U.S. Savings Bonds and cash. . . . The five individual stocks, each comprising about six percent of the portfolio, are: Pfizer (PFE), Martha Stewart Living (MSO), General Dynamics (GD), Fidelity National Financial (FNF) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP)."
-- Roger M. Tweed