The Two Poster-Children Of Froth (Or How To Piss Off Half The Market)
I am sure to madden a bunch of readers this afternoon, but here it goes nonetheless. For most of the spring and early summer, there were two poster children of speculative froth.
The first was Tesla. Egged higher by Elon Musk’s tweets poking fun at the skeptical short sellers, this stock was seemingly unstoppable. Rising from $240 in March, TSLA ticked at $387 in late June, squeezing the shorts by 61% in the space of one quarter.
Have a look at the headlines from ToutTV during this period:
The euphoria for Musk filled the financial news networks, and any naysayers were generally viewed as idiots who just didn’t get it.
* * *
The second investing theme from earlier in the year that caught the public’s attention was bitcoin. In this case, the rally was even more dramatic.
Bitcoin tripled from March to June.
I wrote an article in late May that did not embrace the new paradigm (My Great Bitcoin Bungle), and I can confirm, bitconians are not the most accepting bunch when it comes to alternative opinions. I was inundated with comments about how I was yet another finance guy unwilling to accept the new world reality.
Barrons’ even went so far to make bitcoin their cover story (and you know how I feel about Barrons’ cover stories).
And nothing made me laugh more than the bitcoin zealot who sneaked into Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s Humphrey Hawkins’ testimony to hold up a “buy Bitcoin” sign.
I have to give the kid credit - it was a great stunt. But it sums up the degree at which this theme has captured the enthusiasts’ imagination.
Although there were other stories that dragged the stock market higher during the past few months (NVDA and AMZN are good candidates), I consider TSLA and XBT (bitcoin) the two most prominent leaders. In my mind, these were the two names where speculation was running the most amok.
For the longest time, it seemed like regardless of what the stock market or other financial markets did, each day TSLA and XBT were sure to rally.
And this next statement is where I am going to get myself into some trouble. I don’t think this speculation was healthy. I don’t view either of these themes as particularly well thought out. Yeah, I know Musk is going to change the world, and we will all be paying for our TSLA Model 3’s in bitcoin. Don’t bother trying to convert me. I think both of these assets are legitimate technologies, but both are priced for an unrealistic reality.