An excellent example of potential pent-up demand is the automobile market. February light vehicle sales came in at a 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 12.6 million in January 2011. Excluding the August 2009 "cash for clunkers" sales of 14.2 million, February's sales figure was the best since August 2008. Domestic light vehicle sales were reported at 10.35 million units compared to January's 9.59 million -- again the best monthly data, excluding "clunkers," in two and a half years.
From an historical perspective, sales are still meaningfully below their trend line and have a lot of room to grow -- in the years that led up to the last recession in 2008, light vehicles sales averaged close to 17 million units.
This same observation applies to other industries, with well-below-trend-line residential real estate growth the most conspicuous example of pent-up demand growth opportunity in the years ahead.
I can promise all of you that over the next few months, I will be more balanced in my writings, in my market view and in my individual recommendations, as I am respectful -- irrespective of yesterday's schmeissing -- of Mr. Market's more sanguine message and of the better-than-I-expected improvement in economic fundamentals.In Jim "El Capitan" Cramer's Getting Back to Even, Jimmy wrote these kind words about me in his final "Acknowledgements" chapter:
Thank you to RealMoney's Doug Kass, for helping me call a once-in-a-generation bottom in March 2009.As I watched Jim's observations on the "Be Afraid" segment on "Mad Money" last night -- as I do every night -- I heard his message loud and clear (as he heard mine almost two years ago) and took it to heart. That message is that there is no place for dogma ... especially when investing in the stock market. (This precept applies to both bullish and bearish thinking.) As I mentioned previously, there are economic, profit and market challenges aplenty (that I have been chronicling on The Edge). And while Mr. Market might have some work to do on the downside in the near term, I for one will take advantage of opportunities that are presented in a correction ... on the long side.
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