Me, Bearish?

Funny. Write a few non-bullish things here on the site and suddenly a few readers declare me a perma-bear. Got a few emails today saying as much. How does that work?

The reverse isn’t true. If I’ve been generally bearish and write that things are looking interesting I doubt I’ll be christened a new perma-bull. So what is it about a bearish statement that makes people think you’ve permanently joined the doom-and-gloom gang?

While I am generally positive about markets and their outlook — triumph of the optimists, etc. — I am fundamentally a pragmatist. If you can make money skewing bearish, then I generally lean that way; if you can make more money being bullish, then I lean that way. But either way, I’m not fixed, and even within a bullish worldview there are always things about which you can usefully be skeptical, and vice-versa.

This fondness in some quarters for fixed views is a baffler to me.


  1. “This fondness in some quarters for fixed views is a baffler to me.”
    I agree. Somtimes I wonder if A. Gary Shiling is delusional and other times I wonder if he’s just a really saavy snake oil salesman.

  2. Because most people are net long equities. If you say something bearish you are saying something that people internalize as being against them. It’s stupid but then most people are stupid.

  3. Herb Greenberg says:

    Welcome to my world, Pal!

  4. It’s absurd to think you are bearish! The only thing I remember you being permanently bearish on in is Microsoft!

  5. Now you know why stock discussion forums are so out of control. There isn’t a community on the planet more emotional than investor communities. Ironic, considering we’re told not to be emotional about our investments.
    Herb, nobody’s in your world :-)

  6. Recognize it for what it is — name calling by people who have aa vested interest in the long side.
    If I were so crass as to sink to their level, I would call them sycophant cheerleading money losing hacks — but i would like to think I am above that sort of thing. ; )

  7. The stigma is more than unfortunate.