Every time the major stock market indices back off by just a few percentage points from all-time highs, investor anxiety jumps. Every retreat since 2009 is perceived as an existential threat to the bull market. Yet we have seen few stock market corrections relative to the decades before the Great Recession.
But if some of the most astute investors of our time — Ray Dalio, Paul Singer and Carl Icahn — are screaming "danger, danger" about the stock market, then who are we to argue?
There's no need to argue.
Forget about being bullish or bearish.
Raised on valuation metrics and careful analysis? You'll just be frustrated.
A focus on just three factors can help explain this market and why no matter how many good sound bites can be rattled off about the "impending crash," most investors would be better off minding the hopelessly optimistic — or is it joyously pessimistic? — words of Bill Murray's "Meatballs" character in his pep talk to campers: "It just doesn't matter!"