Tuesday 8 December 2009

Beware the stock market boom

Another commentator I follow is an American called Warren Pollock. Here he says you should think twice about investing at this time. Companies raise cash from you by offering shares; now they have money, and you have hope.

In 1999, I attended a monthly meeting for brokers where a representative from one of the investment houses gave his views on the boom in technology shares. According to him, what we we were seeing was nothing to what would come after - the "super-boom". This was what we were to think, so we could advise our clients to buy into his company's technology fund.

Fund management companies earn a percentage of the money invested with them, so according to them it is always a good time to invest - the bigger their fund, the bigger their earnings.

If you are an investor who bought your shares through a stockbroker and you got in at the right time (low price), you need to get out at the right time (high price), so you need another buyer who thinks the price will go even higher. If you bought via a collective investment (e.g. the unit trusts that underpin most ISAs), then you can simply sell your units back to the fund - which means the fund has to find the cash to give you. And if the fund doesn't find new investors, it will shrink. So, maybe, that's the time to send their rep round to the brokers.

So you can see that at least two groups of people have a vested interest in encouraging optimism in you, even when they may not feel it themselves.

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