Is there a series of events that stands to bring a ton of high-quality stocks into the bullish mix?
Mr. Market stalks all walks of life to determine fair value for stocks. In doing so, he builds conclusions from one event to another. Unfortunately, at this very moment I have difficulty telling you to buy stocks on the following made-of-paper thesis: The fiscal cliff has been mitigated; hence, stocks are oversold; most companies will do A-OK in a the first half of 2013, even with a potential U.S. gross domestic product of 0.5% to 1%; so every stock off your watch list or buy an index fund.
Look, I thought long and hard on the tone of this piece. That much is for sure. Does my continued caution really represent the extent of the bearishness held by similarly minded individuals, and is that the platform for stocks to climb this Wall of Worry thing? Do I kick it September 2009 style and become bullish as the masses suggest a "once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity," essentially tossing in the trash valuable and painful lessons learned?
When all is said and done, I prefer the market to earn my trust back. Who cares if the precise bottom isn't picked? I am not trying to light a cigar and yell, "Yeahhh, buddy, I was right." Instead, I want even the slightest bit of confirmation that the out-of-the-blue triple-digit down sessions are largely finished for this cycle (which began mid-September), and that successive events are on the horizon that will build a groundwork to driving valuations higher.