With positive news popping up on a weekly basis, one might be tempted to think that gurus warning of doom and gloom are irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Their warnings that massive problems remain are true and merits careful consideration. Deficits are huge, lending is bogged down, jobs have been lost, and the global economy is still gasping for traction. Nirvana is not here.
But at the same time, it would be unwise to read media headlines and think for a moment that all is negative and that impending collapse is inevitable. After all, the same pundits who advised to avoid equities at Dow 6,700 were wrong and missed out on a 40 percent rise in the equity markets. Yes, there may be a retreat coming in the future but the market rally highlights a simple truth; the economy and the markets do not always move together. A rational, parallel track very rarely occurs.
There is little doubt that positive signs and green shoots are appearing. Do not ignore stabilizing housing sales, a Chinese economy beginning to grow from internal consumption, more efficient business practices resulting in positive earnings surprises, and what appears to be some slowdown in the unemployment rate in the United States.
It’s not time for euphoria but there is evidence that some degree of hope is warranted. And while you digest these hopeful indicators, do not lose your skeptical perspective and continue to embrace valid concerns and anxieties about the state of the world.
In investing, it’s important to have a balanced perspective; making economic and investment judgments is not a binary set of choices; gray exists. It's a probability game and a careful measuring of current conditions requires a thoughtful, academic viewpoint. And remember as you rationally assess current conditions, never forget that the market often moves irrationally just like an adolescent child. Emotion impacts market movements.
The world will continue to be volatile as we navigate this financial meltdown. You’ve heard the wise advice before; if you can keep a calm perspective while others are losing theirs, you certainly will have an edge. Be composed, hopeful, paranoid, thoughtful, open, and decisive. These perspectives are not mutually exclusive and if you can embrace a balanced perspective, you will have an edge.
No, doom is not dead -- and thank goodness for that. Likewise, hope still exists and that's a good thing as well. Embrace both and be a thoughtful investor. It's the path to investment success.
Michael A. Yoshikami, Ph.D., CFP®, is Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist of YCMNET Advisors, Inc., a registered investment advisory firm (www.ycmnet.com). Michael oversees all investment and research activities of YCMNET. He is a respected lecturer speaking frequently on market issues, tactical asset allocation, and investment strategy. He appears regularly on CNBC and CNBC Asia and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.