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 Post subject: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:41 am 
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Bill Gross's investment outlook this month makes case for the last century being an anomaly and future returns of equities being much less than anyone is expecting. I'm wondering what everyone thinks of this. It is available at

http://www.pimco.com/EN/insights/pages/cult-figures.aspx#

In case you've never heard of him, Bill Gross is a very highly respected bond manager and has done fairly well at predicting the broad direction of the economy over a long period of time.

The basic premises are:
1. Equities have returned 6.6% over the last century, but there is no economic basis for equity returns to exceed GDP growth over long periods.

2. The only way out of the current debt load is by inflating our way out of it over a couple of decades.

I'm not sure I agree with either point and he doesn't fully support those premises in my opinion. But it is an interesting read.

I found myself thinking that one way to support stocks growing faster than GDP is for there to be a shift in money from some investors losing money on companies going bankrupt. Basically, in the early 1900s some people invested in auto companies that failed while others invested in Ford and GM. The money lost in the failed companies is not counted in the returns. It's an example of survivorship bias and partly results from the losses being shifted to the winners.

What do you think lies ahead?

What will stocks return on average between now and 2112?

Will there be an attempt to inflate our way out of the debt situation in a few years?


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:07 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1568
http://www.businessinsider.com/dear-pimco-would-bill-gross-maybe-like-to-update-that-analysis-of-stocks-he-published-yesterday-2012-8 thinks that Bill Gross is mistaken because of one crucial error in the terms that he used: stocks have not "appreciated" 7% (over inflation) over the long term. They've "returned" 7%. They only" appreciated" 2%.

I don't know if the article is right or wrong. I do know that Bill Gross is one sharp cookie. But we've seen in other threads how the use of a single wrong word can change the entire meaning of a sentence and what it portends. But my knee-jerk reaction is to raise a skeptical eyebrow whenever I hear the claim, "This time it will be different."


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:34 pm 
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VinTek wrote:
But my knee-jerk reaction is to raise a skeptical eyebrow whenever I hear the claim, "This time it will be different."


I agree. But, as a scientist, I like to see both evidence and a plausible, causal theory behind any explanation like this. I've always been bothered by the lack of a causal explanation for the empirical observation that stocks have returned 6% (or 6.6%) over inflation for the long term. (This seems to go back centuries as near as we can tell.) Most people chalk it up to some parameter of human behavior and risk/reward expectations. I think Gross misses out of proposing an explanation for why things have changed but I also think he is right in questioning WHY stocks could have returned so much. Simply projecting past returns forward is not an answer to me.

He also doesn't suggest any alternatives. He says stocks won't return. He doesn't expect bonds to either. He predicts inflation so don't hold cash...and before anyone brings it up, gold and real estate don't have the right characteristics either.

What we need is ACTIONABLE intelligence!


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:38 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
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Since I have absolutely no bearing on the future of the entire market, I don't really care to get into my predictions. Ok, 2.71% real. Any prediction does not change my behavior today (at least I haven't run into one that will).

But, my opinion is inflation will at least be a part of the debt solution. Once this ship is righted and Bernacke can stop pulling the puppet strings, a little more inflation may not hurt. A lot more inflation, probably will. As with almost everything, moderation is the key.

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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Bichon Frise wrote:
Since I have absolutely no bearing on the future of the entire market, I don't really care to get into my predictions. Ok, 2.71% real. Any prediction does not change my behavior today (at least I haven't run into one that will).

But, my opinion is inflation will at least be a part of the debt solution. Once this ship is righted and Bernacke can stop pulling the puppet strings, a little more inflation may not hurt. A lot more inflation, probably will. As with almost everything, moderation is the key.


I think it is going to be a few years before Bernanke (or his successor if he gets fed up with being blamed for everything) can start inflating out of the debt situation. Until then I think it is actually quite brilliant how the US is refinancing much of the debt at historically low rates. The deficit hawks ought to be thrilled about this yet they continue to criticize. I can only assume they are just playing politics. They are getting their spending cuts on behalf of the Fed.


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:59 pm
Posts: 62
Location: San Diego, CA
*past performance is not indicative of future results


Last edited by tdelamater on Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:17 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:24 pm
Posts: 88
I've posted before that the historical data show a 2% real return of equities based on asset value, then add in whatever dividends are being paid. The last 50 years (or, 60 yrs ago to 10yrs ago) is indeed above longer term trend-line, closer to 3%. One other glitch is that prior to early 1800s there was hardly any publicly-traded equity, almost all public securities were bonds. The markets may indeed be random ("A Random Walk Down Wallstreet"), as the shorter a period you look at the wider the variation in returns...

Long story short, invest in productive (earning) assets - which may include dividend-paying stocks - and you should be able to keep ahead of inflation. As Ben Franklin advised, spend less than you earn and you'll be secure.


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1095
Quote:
What will stocks return on average between now and 2112?

According to Dave Ramsey, stocks return 12% on average.


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:55 am 
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flyffdzd wrote:
Since I have absolutely no bearing on the future of the entire market, I don't really care to get into my predictions.


What? :^)

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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:58 am 
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babysteps wrote:
I've posted before that the historical data show a 2% real return of equities based on asset value, then add in whatever dividends are being paid. The last 50 years (or, 60 yrs ago to 10yrs ago) is indeed above longer term trend-line, closer to 3%...

As Ben Franklin advised, spend less than you earn and you'll be secure.


"If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone."
- Benjamin Franklin

Not sure about the secure part. But it does make sense. I'd like to have the stone he mentioned personally ;)

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Last edited by Eagle on Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:02 am 
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tdelamater wrote:
*past performance is not indicative of future results


This is true. Take Enron for example.

Tightwad wrote:
Quote:
What will stocks return on average between now and 2112?


According to Dave Ramsey, stocks return 12% on average.


Lol. That would be great if it were true. The guy only does getting out of debt well. Dave's investment advice is sorry at best.

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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:30 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:21 pm
Posts: 89
Thanks for posting this.

The document seems to be poorly supported, especially for something coming from someone who is so highly respsected. I know much less about the economy than Bill Gross, but I tend to disagree with him on this.

My mind is twisting up in knots thinking about it, but it seems to me that the issue is that Gross is equating the growth of wealth with the growth of GDP. He argues that stockholders would eventually own all wealth if the equity premium stays so high, but if national wealth grows faster than national product, then his premise is untrue. Do you think wealth has to grow at the same rate as national product over the long run? Doesn't this depend on the savings rate?

Also, the "permanent stockholder" that ends up owning all the wealth would actually be taxed on his dividends and capital gains all the time - and the taxes get redistributed throughout the economy.


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:47 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1568
Speaking of future returns, the Chief Economist at just weighed in on bonds. His article is called https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/article/bond-blog-08022012


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1095
Eagle wrote:
tdelamater wrote:
*past performance is not indicative of future results


This is true. Take Enron for example.

Tightwad wrote:
Quote:
What will stocks return on average between now and 2112?


According to Dave Ramsey, stocks return 12% on average.


Lol. That would be great if it were true. The guy only does getting out of debt well. Dave's investment advice is sorry at best.

Agreed. He program helps people with no financial discipline but his investment advice makes me cringe.


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 Post subject: Re: Future returns
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:20 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1568
New article on the subject. CBS Marketplace's Larry Swedroe has written a piece called http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57487221/should-you-listen-to-bill-gross/?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesAreaMain

The article gives a little perspective to what Gross had to say.


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