Those who lived through the last two speculative blow-off tops know the impossibility of predicting the final top.
How can we tell if stocks are in the final blow-off stage of a bubble? There are four basic give-aways:
Amazon is a large, well-run corporation, but its core businesses are low-margin (as for the cloud business--everybody and their brother is ramping up their cloud biz). Is it truly normal for a low-margin company's stock to rise 50+% in four months?
Margin debt reflects the "animal spirits" of speculation and confidence. When borrowed money is used to buy more stocks, it makes the resulting rise vulnerable to a decline that forces recent buyers to liquidate their positions to cover their margin calls.
The soaring confidence in future advances that define blow-off tops is visible in declining measures of volatility such as the VIX and VXX. (Recall that volatility and stocks are on a see-saw; should the VXX reverse and move higher, stocks would plummet.)
One last method to identify blow-off tops is to look for repeating patterns that marked previous blow-off tops.
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Are you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.
And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.
You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.
Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.
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"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube)
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