No Better Than The Rest of Us

Newly minted Nobel laureate Richard Thaler weighed in on equities today. Via Bloomberg:

A buoyant and complacent stock market is worrying Richard H. Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who this week won the Nobel Prize in economics.

“We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping,” Thaler said, speaking by phone on Bloomberg TV. “I admit to not understanding it.”…

…“I don’t know about you, but I’m nervous, and it seems like when investors are nervous, they’re prone to being spooked,” Thaler said, “Nothing seems to spook the market” and if the gains are based on tax-reform expectations, “surely investors should have lost confidence that that was going to happen.”

Riskiest moments of our lives, hmm. At a now seemingly long ago meeting of the Oregon Council of Economic Advisors, a more experienced member quipped that there is no more uncertainty than there has ever been. That individual  remembered, for example, the 60’s and the Cuban Missile Crisis. So while this is a risky moment to be sure, we have had other risky, and perhaps riskier, times to contend with.

Also, note the results of a quick Google search of Thalyer’s fellow Nobel laureate, Robert Shiller:

Think about that record, and think about the fact that Shiller is a noted expert in bubbles.

None of this should is meant to any way meant to diminish the accomplishments of Thaler and Shiller. Winning the Nobel prize in economics is something I am fairly certain I will not achieve. It’s just to say that before you act on the market advise of a Nobel laureate, it is worth considering if they can really forecast any better than the rest of us.