In 1849, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. Now, over 170 years later, technical analysts are using his prophetic statement to warn investors of a potential top. The stock market is indeed high and is characterised by typical market exuberance – whether it is historically low put/call ratios, record-high active investor equity exposure, record levels of margin debt or very high levels of bullishness on investment polls. At these times, it is worth recalling Humphrey Neill’s 1954 book, “The Art of Contrary Thinking,” where he wrote that the public is often right during the trend, but wrong at both ends.
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