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Stocks: 6 Reasons Last Week's Bull Market Anniversary Felt Just Like the 2000 Crash

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It's been five years since we hit a market bottom, but all signs suggest stocks could top out soon.

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Last week was notable for two important anniversaries.
 
In 2009, the market hit bottom on March 9. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell to near 666, representing a 60% drop from its top in 2007. Most traders and investors wanted to celebrate this date, as it marked the five-year anniversary of the bull market. The market is up roughly 178% from the 2009 low; its rip-roaring run has been fueled by high margins, Fed money printing, low job growth,and a new boom in technology (3D printing, biotech, and social media stocks have all captured investors' attention).
 
The second key date was March 10, 2014,  marking the 14th anniversary of the Nasdaq's (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) top in 2000. This, of course, was the top of the secular bull market and the absolute height of "irrational exuberance" as Alan Greenspan coined it. The Nasdaq fell nearly 78% to its 2002 bottom. Even with the great run of the past five years and the new boom in tech, we must remember the Nasdaq is still near 14% below its high of 2000.
 
Personally, I am much more focused on the anniversary of the tech wreck. Here's why:
 
1.The bull market is long in the tooth. The bull market is nearly five years old. If you go back to 1921, you will see that only two bull markets (1921 to 1929 and 1990 to 1998) were longer. Those were two decades of wild stock and economic growth. With the global economy slowing, it is hard for me to see us squeezing out three more years of gains.

2. There are warning signs from China and abroad. China just posted its first decline in trade since 2009. Copper and iron ore prices have tanked and could be predicting lower economic activity to come. China is trying to rein in its shadow banking system and credit growth, and that growth was a huge factor in the global economy's recovery from 2009 to 2013.

3. Valuations and sentiment are again stretched in the US, and the CAPE, or trailing 10-year price-to-earnings ratio, is north of 25. When the CAPE is north of 25, average 10-year returns on equities are about 3%. Most sentiment polls such as Put to Calls, the Rydex Ratio, and Investors Intelligence are showing multi-decade highs in bullish sentiment.

4. There are bubbles in technology and other growth sectors. Certain market categories, such as biotech (iShares Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB)), 3D printing, and social media (Global X Fund (NASDAQ:SOCL)) and select stocks such as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) look just like the bubble stocks of the 1990s. They remind me of stocks like Iomega, JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:JDSU), and CMGI. Three-dimensional printing such such as 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE:DDD) and Organovo (NYSEMKT:ONVO)  trade at multiples of 10 to 40 times revenues, not earnings. The same goes with social media stocks such as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and the like.

5. Market action is similar to that of the 2000 top. In 2000, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) peaked in January. That was the top of the bull market. The Nasdaq continued to soar into March and the S&P 500 made a slightly higher high in March. The exact same thing is happening today. The Dow failed to make a new high on this last rally.  The S&P 500 made a slightly higher high and the Nasdaq and momentum stocks surged to what might be their final highs.

6.Gold and gold stocks are rallying. Gold and gold shares traded more or less with the market until 2011. Then, as there was no financial collapse or inflation, gold declined into 2013. Gold has become the contrarian trade, as was also the case during the 2000 to 2002 bear market in stocks. It is a hedge to the market. I think that the strong rally in gold is a sign that the market is worried about the stock market rolling over later this year. Gold shares began to rally in November 2000 just before the tech wreck got out of control.
 
Topping takes time, but I suggest buyers beware.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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