In early 2013, the “It’s 1999 again” bears came out of the woodwork and I spent a day looking at the way the stock market’s new highs were being covered by national newspapers all over the country.
Surely, in 1999, everyone was both aware and excited about the milestones in the market – if we were anywhere near a mania-like atmosphere, wouldn’t we be seeing something similar today?
But instead of wall-to-wall market coverage – there was just about nothing. Most business sections mentioned it, but the stock rally didn’t make the front cover of anything. And even the mentions were skeptical in nature, there was precisely zero ebullience to be found in the mainstream press. (See ‘Meanwhile on Main Street…’)
Sorry, no bubble without an accompanying mania – bubbles are never just about price, but about investor behavior as well. The people who got this wrong, and were without the context of what a real bubble looks like, ended up missing out substantially.
And the funny part is that this disinterest in stocks continues to this day.
This week we learned that only 7% – SEVEN PERCENT – of Americans are aware that the US stock market went up by 30% last year.
This is quite a mania – a mania of apathy.
Gallup (via Jason Zweig):