The key point is this: after an extended and extreme compression of risk premiums, we’re now observing increasing divergences across a variety of market internals and security types (e.g. breadth, leadership, momentum stocks, small caps, junk bonds). We’ve come to avoid pointed warnings in this market, because speculative conditions have extended much longer than in other cycles. Indeed, we’ve had a few deteriorations in recent years that reversed fairly quickly as investors shifted back to risk-seeking, particularly after fresh initiatives or assurances about monetary easing (though further initiatives may not be forthcoming in this instance). So we're open to a favorable shift on these measures, and if that was to occur following a somewhat greater retreat in valuations, it could even open up some amount of constructive opportunity. Meanwhile, despite our view of stocks as severely overvalued, our response is to remain defensive without taking a stance that greatly relies on immediate market weakness.
An awareness of divergence and uniformity is the bread-and-butter of signal extraction – inferring true information signals from the sea of random noise. We take the present breakdown of market internals seriously. Whatever the crowd wishes to do about it, historically-minded investors should think carefully about whether a strenuously overvalued market with deteriorating market internals is a desirable environment for risk taking. For our part, the answer is a resounding “No.”