David Rosenberg’s latest note points out the cult of personality that seems to have arisen around financial analyst Meredith Whitney. Rosie also comments on investor behavior and cautions against excessive optimism as investors bid up stocks in anticipation of “better than expected” earnings.
We thought that the ability of one person to move the market went out three decades ago with Henry Kaufmann over at Henry Kaufmann, but Meredith Whitney did manage to do the same – in a bullish fashion, though – with her CNBC remarks on Goldman yesterday morning. (Although, it was interesting that Dell’s reduced guidance for the current quarter garnered little attention.)
What was interesting was how she stressed that this was not an industry-wide comment but rather specific to the firm and yet this was the tide that lifted all boats across the financials and the entire stock market for that matter. What this tells us is that even after 12 years of no appreciation in equities, and after brutal bear markets seven years apart, the public’s resolve in the stock market has not been shaken.
The fact that the equity market could rally this much based on one analyst’s commentary is testament to the view of how badly investors want to believe that the recession and credit crunch are behind us and that unbridled prosperity lies ahead. As WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said yesterday, “I would caution against excessive optimism.”