This blog post originally appeared on RealMoney Silver on March 25 at 8:05 a.m. EDT.
A few weeks prior to the markets hitting a
a year ago, I created a
that enabled me to better gauge the bottom.
Now, nearly 13 months later and with the
almost 500 points higher, it is time to focus on a new checklist of some potential adverse developments that could contribute to a market top and a reversal of investors' good fortunes since March 2009.
Interest Rates: The yield on the 10-year U.S. note might climb to over 4% (now at 3.85%). A 4.00% to 4.25% yield would likely provide a tipping point for increased competition to equities and produce an interest (mortgage) rate headwind to the nascent housing recovery at a time when stock dividend yields have nearly halved and when a large phantom inventory of unsold homes is about to begin to enter the residential for-sale market.
Jobs / Economy: A more sluggish-than-expected expansion in new jobs and the weight of higher taxes in 2011 might translate to a downturn in consumer confidence, reduced business fixed investment and a more shallow domestic economic recovery in the second half of this year.
Retail: Cautious forward comp guidance in retail could reverse the February-March strength.
Europe: There could be growing signs of weakness in the European economies.
Credit: Over there, we might witness evidence of more sovereign (Spain?) crises, and, over here, we could see more U.S. municipal -- the universe is large! -- financial woes. Forced austerity measures would likely produce lower growth.
Credit (Part Deux): Credit spreads might widen.
Geopolitical: We could see a possible rise in geopolitical tensions or even another terrorist act on our shore.
Monetary Policy: We might have a less dovish Fed in words (jawboning) and in action (through an increase in the federal funds rate).
Tightening Abroad: It is likely that central banks around the world will begin to clench their monetary fist, especially in China.
Protectionism, Trade and Currency Wars: Things might get ugly, especially on the U.S. / China front.
Housing: A renewed leg down in home prices is possible as the spring selling season could fail to appear. (It hasn't gotten off to a great start.)
Sentiment: We could witness the birth of a 5x to 10x levered bullish ETF, a burst in bullish investor sentiment, an expansion in hedge fund net long positions, a further drawdown in mutual fund cash positions, a meaningful increase in retail mutual fund equity inflows and massive outflows out of Rydex bear funds.
Technical: Stocks could fail to respond to good news, suggesting that the sharp corporate profit recovery has been baked into prices. A breakdown in financials and/or transports could occur. Overseas markets might fail to make new highs, or we could see a further contraction in NYSE / Nasdaq exchange volume.
Deflation: Industrial commodity prices could weaken.
Speculation: We might see an increasingly speculative market for low-price issues.
Underwritings: The emergence of a record syndicate calendar is possible.
Wall Street: A substantial increase in Wall Street industry hirings could be announced.
Dr. Doom vs. the Sunshine Boys: Dr. Nouriel Roubini could see green shoots, causing bullish strategists and money managers to demonstrate even more swagger. Reminiscent of late 1998, a sell-side analyst (perhaps the new Henry Blodgett) might raise his 12-month Apple price target to $375 a share, leading another analyst to top that target and move to $400 a share a week later.
The Media: CNBC could throw another celebratory party. Time magazine might declare the death of the bear market on its cover or run a cover story offering a new bullish economic and/or stock market paradigm. Sir Larry Kudlow could have trouble finding a single bear to appear on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report." Record ratings might induce the management of CNBC to expand "Squawk Box" from three hours to four hours (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) and add an additional anchor to join Joe, Becky and Carl.
Dougie: Maybe I turn bullish.
Doug Kass writes daily for
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At the time of publication, Kass and/or his funds had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.
Doug Kass is the general partner Seabreeze Partners Long/Short LP and Seabreeze Partners Long/Short Offshore LP. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security.