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Dow Jones: As Bulls Tout Melt-Up, This Perma-Bear Screams ‘Sell!’

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:38 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:38 PM

By CCN.com: Earlier this week, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink monopolized the Wall Street watercooler conversation when he downplayed fears that the Dow and broader US stock market risk a near-term correction. To the contrary, he said, a “melt-up” is far more likely.

Ignoring the fact that melt-ups are frequently followed by meltdowns, short-sighted equities optimists took Fink’s prediction as confirmation that the bull market remains intact.

Perma-bear David Rosenberg, on the other hand, shouted that the melt-up narrative vindicated his pessimistic thesis: It’s time for investors to get the heck out of Dodge.

Dow Jones Bear Issues Dire Warning for Equities Bulls

Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Toronto-based wealth manager Gluskin Sheff, delivered this ominous warning in a Thursday morning tweet, noting that there was more than a bit of delicious irony in Fink’s use of the term “melt-up.”

“So we have Larry Fink talking about a ‘melt-up’ which is hilarious since that was the exact term that Jeremy Grantham used in January 2018, just ahead of a 10% correction at the time,” Rosenberg said. “Sell, Mortimer, Sell!”

To Rosenberg’s point, Jeremy Grantham – the chief investment at $100 billion asset management firm GMO – had assured  investors in early 2018 that the feverish bull market would launch the Dow and its peers at least 50 percent higher before the bubble popped.

“I recognize on one hand that this is one of the highest-priced markets in U.S. history. On the other hand, as a historian of the great equity bubbles, I also recognize that we are currently showing signs of entering the blow-off or melt-up phase of this very long bull market,” he told clients at the time.

That prediction, needless to say, missed the mark. Just days later, the Dow began to crumble, and by early February it had plunged from 26,610 to 23,860 for a loss of more than 10 percent.

dow jones industrial average january 2018 correction
The Dow Jones Industrial Average failed to see the “melt-up” that Jeremy Grantham predicted. | Source: Yahoo Finance

The ensuing recovery launched Wall Street’s major indices to fresh all-time highs, only to give way to a fourth-quarter sell-off that forced the Dow well below 22,000.

David Rosenberg: ‘Sell, Mortimer, Sell!’

So here we are, 15 months later, and once again the bulls are trying to downplay recession fears by arguing that the market’s historic climb has at least one more melt-up in the tank before it runs out of gas.

To that, Rosenberg has a simple response, poached from Wall Street parody film Trading Places: “Sell, Mortimer, Sell!”