Peter Atwater joins us in our 13th installment of In The Arena. Peter is the President of Financial Insyghts and author of the book Moods and Markets. He writes and speaks extensively about how changes in confidence affect our investing preferences, decisions and actions.
He offeres insightful perspectives on a number of topics including:
- Sentiment & Volatility – We are just past a peak
- Policy – Trump is showing that the 2020 campaign is far more important than the S&P 500 in 2019
- Crypto Currencies – The mania, Grandma’s buying bitcoin
- Current Market Positioning – Positive on the agricultural and commodity space
During the interview Peter talks about the popular expression "It's not a bubble" and what it indicates to him:
“It's not a bubble…That is a headline that I pay very close attention to because inevitably right before the bubble peaks, you'll have all of these articles explaining why the top couldn't possibly be in. And it's interesting a couple of weeks ago, I saw the same kind of a series of articles on why investors were smart to buy the dip in December. There were all whole slew of articles that used prior oversold markets as evidenced that December was the beginning of a much greater bull market ahead. They chose 2011 and points in 2015 saying this is going to repeat because I can show you that it's happened in the past and that trend extrapolation always has me salivating.”
Peter and Daryl also delve into Artificial Intelligence in the investing field:
“On the AI (Artificial Intelligence) front the danger there is that inherently all artificial intelligence is trend extrapolating. Because this happened in the past, it will continue to happen into the future. It's very linear thinking. So what I would I worry about is that there is no real thought given to the cyclicality of human behavior and so you've got this technology that wants to keep going straight ahead paired with investors who are riding now in autonomous vehicles. The number of investors cringe when I refer to passive investing as riding in an autonomous vehicle, but to me it is precisely that.”
Peter makes an interesting correlation between the popular Tide Pod Challenge and the rabid buying of Bitcoin.
"One of the slides that I love to show is that at the same time that you had bitcoin peaking the Tide Pod Challenge was all the rage. So you had kids in high school who were your challenging each other to eat these toxic little detergent pods because they thought that was a good idea. And that to me is a great sort of parallel. You know, we can take risk because any risk is something that we can overcome. And I think that that was just a perfect alignment.”
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