En boble er som en influenzaepidemi

I artiklen Bubbles Forever beskriver bobleanalytikeren over dem alle Robert Shiller en finansiel boble som en epidemi, fordi man aldrig helt ved, hvornår den ene boble slutter og den næste begynder:

It would seem more accurate to refer to these episodes [speculative financial bubbles] as speculative epidemics. We know from influenza that a new epidemic can suddenly appear just as an older one is fading, if a new form of the virus appears, or if some environmental factor increases the contagion rate. Similarly, a new speculative bubble can appear anywhere if a new story about the economy appears, and if it has enough narrative strength to spark a new contagion of investor thinking.

Og han opsummerer således:

Speculative bubbles do not end like a short story, novel, or play. There is no final denouement that brings all the strands of a narrative into an impressive final conclusion. In the real world, we never know when the story is over.

De danske bobler

Er den danske boligboble ovre? Er der en ny i boble i København (se fx Børsen)? Eller er det den samme boble, der bliver holdt i live på grund af det lave renteniveau?

Som jeg har skrevet før, kan man først se prisbobler, når de er sprunget. Bobler er et historisk fænomen. Man skal kunne spå om fremtiden for at vide om det københavnske boligmarked befinder sig i en uholdbar boble lige nu. Vi kan anlægge forskellige teoretiske modeller for ligevægtspriser, antagelser om ændrede demografiske forhold osv. Men selv hvis man finder, at teorien ikke kan forklare prisniveauet, kan det “for høje” prisniveau fortsætte mange år frem. Derfor er det nok bedre, at boligkøbere justerer deres budgetter efter den evigt eksisterende risiko for prisfald. Det er ligeså uklogt at ignorere risikoen for prisfald i sit boligkøbsbudget i dag som på pristoppen i 2006 eller på bunden/plateauet i 2009.

Shillers oprindelige definition af en spekulativ boble

Robert Shillers oprindelige definition af en boble fra hans bog Irrational Exuberance:

A “speculative bubble is a situation in which news of price increases spurs investor enthusiasm, which spreads by psychological contagion from person to person, in the process amplifying stories that might justify the price increase.” This attracts “a larger and larger class of investors, who, despite doubts about the real value of the investment, are drawn to it partly through envy of others’ successes and partly through a gambler’s excitement.”

Links

Bubbles Forever
Robert J. Shiller
Project Syndicate
July 17, 2013

Sommerlæsning: Historien om IT-boblen i 90’erne

Sommertemaet om finansielle bobler fortsætter ufortrødent med it-boblen. Herunder lidt citater fra en 14 år gammel artikel, Baloney.com (pdf), fra toppen af boblen i maj 1999 om at holde igen med jagten på de hurtige aktieafkast:

For the next few months, perhaps even for a year or two, this may seem like one of the stupidest investing columns ever written. That’s because I’ve been asked to answer the question “Can you get rich by buying an Internet stock fund?” and my answer is no. Yes, I know: The Internet Fund was up 196% in 1998 and another 84% through March […] Who can resist returns like these?

Fra artiklen om it-boblen: The notion that you will get rich "buying early" is just wrong.
Fra artiklen Baloney.com, Money, May 1999.

Særligt hans pointe om, at det er svært at finde fremtidens vindere er værd at have i baghovedet også i dag:

Thus Microsoft now appears to have been a sure thing – but, in fact, it was considered a controversial and risky stock at the time, and many professional money managers wouldn’t touch it until 1991.

Microsoft’s spectacular gain makes picking longterm winners seem much easier than it really is because it makes us forget that in 1986 several other companies such as Novell and Borland looked just as likely as Microsoft to dominate the software business.

Seneste eksempel er Better Place’s konkurs. Der er næppe meget tvivl om, at elbiler er fremtiden, men det er ikke ensbetydende med, at det første selskab til at rulle fremtidens produkt ud også bliver fremtidens vinder.

Jeg fandt den gamle artikel i Jason Zweigs indlæg The Intelligent Investor: Saving Investors From Themselves på Wall Street Journal. Hans kommentar om finansielle medier rammer plet:

The advice that sounds the best in the short run is always the most dangerous in the long run. Everyone wants the secret, the key, the roadmap to the primrose path that leads to El Dorado: the magical low-risk, high-return investment that can double your money in no time. Everyone wants to chase the returns of whatever has been hottest and to shun whatever has gone cold. Most financial journalism, like most of Wall Street itself, is dedicated to a basic principle of marketing: When the ducks quack, feed ‘em.

Links

Baloney.com (pdf-link)
Trykt i Money, maj 1999
Skrevet af Jason Zweig

The Intelligent Investor: Saving Investors From Themselves
WSJ Moneybeat
Jason Zweig

Sommerlæsning: Historien om Japans økonomiske boble og dens konsekvenser

På trods af finanskrisen anno 2008 på vores breddegrader kan man ikke undgå at blive overrasket og forundret over den heftige boble, Japan oplevede i 1980’erne, og efterdønningerne:

By 2004, residential real estate in Tokyo was only worth of 10% of its late 1980s peak, while the most expensive land in Tokyo’s Ginza business district had fallen back to just 1% of its 1989 level in the same year (Barsky, 2009). Similarly, the Nikkei stock index is now trading around 10,000, just little over a quarter of its all-time high. It has been over two decades since the popping of Japan’s economic bubble and the country is still actively battling with deflationary forces that are so powerful that near-zero interest rates (zero-interest rate policy or ZIRP), repeated bouts of quantitative easing (some call it “money printing”) and constant Yen-weakening currency interventions have barely made a dent.

Citatet er fra artiklen Japan’s Bubble Economy of the 1980s, som bestemt er værd at læse. Når man læser om Japans historie, er det også svært ikke at sammenligne med Kina, hvor landets virksomheder og befolkning samler så meget velstand at de køber vestlige virksomheder.

Japan’s Bubble Economy of the 1980s
The Bubble Bubble, Jesse Colombo