For the first time ever, I spent nearly a full hour with my favorite host, Sir Larry Kudlow, on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report" last night.
From my perch, the feature of the show was my call that the U.S. stock market could make a 2009 low this week, a very tough call but a position that I have been edging toward over the past several days.
The lion's share of the last segment of "The Kudlow Report" was devoted to my analysis of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A Quote - Cramer on BRK.A - Stock Picks), and my market bottom call is made near the end of the segment.
My contention, as discussed on last night's show, is that the serious problems have been more than fully discounted in the world's equity markets. Moreover, while many have grown increasingly impatient with the new Administration's piecemeal strategy toward addressing the banking industry's toxic assets, a cohesive deal, under the leadership of Lawrence Summers, will soon be forthcoming and will be effective.
The investment pyramid consists of the three angles of fundamentals, sentiment and valuation. I made this market bottom call based on my expectation of an early 2010 stabilization in the economy (making the 27-month recession the second-longest in history) coupled with an extreme sentiment and valuation swing. (As Dennis Gartman is fond of saying, sentiment and valuation have moved from the top left of the chart to the bottom right of the chart in an historic fashion.)
I am fully cognizant of the magnitude of our economic and credit challenges and that the future is not what it used to be. Indeed, my expectation of The Great Decession, which is somewhere between a garden variety recession and The Great Depression, remains intact and is my baseline expectation.
The difficult fundamental backdrop and rapidly descending stock prices have resulted in a particularly volatile period.
I am also fully aware that most forecasts (of a stock and economic kind), especially at inflection points, are inaccurate or difficult to time, and I know that I am catching a falling knife, which is often an expensive and painful proposition.
Two to three years ago, I had a variant view, and I made a bearish call on equities at a time when (prima facie) all appeared healthy. While I clearly saw the developing cracks in the foundations of credit, in the economy and in the world's stock markets, the media, investment strategists, mutual fund and hedge fund managers wore rose-colored glasses as they were almost universally bullish. Today, most of the same group, many of whom have been destroyed by the bear market, can see no light at the end of the tunnel, and frankly, this bolsters my confidence in the call.
It is now time for me to adopt another variant view by espousing a more bullish opinion on the U.S. stock market.