How Imposter Syndrome Ends Up Costing You Money

We hear about the insidious effects of imposter syndrome all the time. How it holds us back from career progression, negates our self-worth and inhibits us from pursuing what we want to do. But according to research, it’s not just our mental health that’s impacted, but our wallets, too.

So what is imposter syndrome? “Imposter syndrome is a common mindset whereby we believe ourselves to be less competent than others perceive us to be,” explains clinical psychologist, Dr Jo Gee. The reason it tends to impact our money is that it’s so entwined with our careers. “Imposter syndrome can lead people to downplay successes, question their salary and even avoid promotions,” says Gee, adding that “it often results in symptoms of burnout from overworking, feelings of inadequacy and self-critique, a lack of satisfaction at work and a fear of asking for help.”

Alina Jaffer, financial expert at Virgin Money, explains the six key ways in which imposter syndrome works to keep us from meeting our financial potential. From the costs associated with FOMO to the FOAM (Fear Of Asking for More), we could be letting thousands slip by. Ahead, Jaffer and Dr Gee share the ways that imposter syndrome can hold us back financially, and their tips for combatting them.

Putting a blocker on pay rises and promotions

Asking for a pay rise is a tricky conversation that many don’t feel comfortable with and imposter syndrome can make this feel even more difficult,” says Jaffer. Sometimes it feels like we’re lucky to just have the job, so when faced with a conversation as tense as money and raises, the pressure to make your case can make you want to hide in the storage cupboard.

But remember, you have every right to approach the subject. If your managers make you feel audacious for asking to be paid for good work, that’s their corporate Stockholm Syndrome, not yours. All you can do is be prepared with clear reasons for your desire for a raise or promotion, and, as Jaffer advises, “try not to any feelings of inadequacy hold you back from having those difficult conversations that need to be had.”

FOMO costs

“Imposter syndrome can cause us to overcompensate in social settings, making us feel the need to prove ourselves or justify our friendships,” says Jaffer. Therefore, imposter syndrome sufferers may experience FOMO more regularly, spurring them to spend money unnecessarily for the sake of simulating a good time. What then happens is that we find ourselves without much left over to add to our savings.

Research even reveals that more than a third of people feel jealous when their friends go out without them and, on average, will spend around $628 a year on events they did not want to attend. That’s a lot of money to be shelling out when we really just want to be at home. According to Dr Gee, it’s all about getting pragmatic with your planning.“If you experience FOMO, we suggest saying ‘yes’ to a limited number of social events that you want to attend,” she suggests. “Using Likert scales where we rate our enthusiasm for a social event (from 1 ‘I don’t want to go’; to 10 ‘I really want to go’), can help to banish FOMO and guide us to what we really want to engage with.”

Buying into the trends

Women on average are spending around $1,800 to $4,800 each year on new clothing, about 27kg in weight, while throwing 23kg worth of clothing and textiles into landfills each year — and only wearing approximately 60% of these new clothes. This means you could be spending hundreds on outfits that you think will help you look the part, when in reality they’re going to waste.

Unfortunately, imposter syndrome makes it impossible for us to internalise our successes and, as a result, we can overly focus on our external facade to help us feel more confident. But as Gee notes, studies have shown that those with imposter syndrome who compensate through fashion report greater feelings of inauthenticity and lower scores in confidence. “Try ditching the catwalk for a mindfulness app… this practice has been shown to create long-lasting brain changes, which are even visible on MRI scans!”

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Overworking

Are you a perfectionist at work? “Imposter syndrome can result in individuals striving to meet impossible standards,” says Jaffer. And while we’ve been led to believe that putting in extra hours will get us noticed for the right reasons, and might even feel essential to getting a promotion.

But what we’re ultimately doing is setting an unhealthy precedent for work boundaries, and pushing ourselves to limits that could see us burn out before we even get to where want to go, as noted by Jaffer. “This immense pressure can lead to burnout and consequently, you might end up stagnating your career progression further and potentially missing out on that pay rise.”

“If you experience imposter syndrome, we suggest a two-pronged approach where you aim for 75% productivity, while seeking feedback and reassurance from colleagues regarding your work,” adds Gee. “This provides direct feedback which you can use to challenge your need to revert to your high standards.”

Avoiding financial advice

With imposter syndrome comes the belief that we’re not mentally equipped to handle big things, and, in some cases, we tend to bury our heads in the sand, preferring instead to avoid the stress of overwhelming life admin. But in news that will shock no one, your money isn’t just taking care of itself.

So if you’re not on top of your funds, not only are you going to miss out on financial opportunities, but you’re also going to fall into the trap of having to rely on banks and other institutions for everything, instead of knowing what’s happening with your money yourself. “While it’s difficult to quantify just how much money you could be losing out on,” explains Jaffer, “avoiding financial advice will ultimately have a negative impact on your finances.”

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Gee recommends asking for help, not even necessarily from professionals, but from those who know how to tell it straight. “As people with imposter syndrome fear being caught out as ‘imposters’, they rarely ask for help,” she explains. “If you suffer from imposter syndrome, set yourself a challenge to ask someone for help each month and make sure one month’s request for support revolves around your finances.”

Playing it safe

More and more people have been galvanised to become their own bosses during the pandemic. But the thing about imposter syndrome is that it can make taking this kind of plunge feel impossible and out of reach. And when we’re second-guessing ourselves, we tend to half-ass our plans or give up on them altogether, leaving it to the people who can do it. But that kind of defeatist attitude doesn’t get us far, especially when we know we’re working with great ideas and are just struggling to get started with them.

“Imposter syndrome can hold people back from starting up their own businesses as the feelings of inadequacy can trigger our freeze mechanism, leading to procrastination and downplaying of abilities,” explains Dr Gee, who suggests that establishing a solid network is the key to getting over our hangups. “Good mentors are worth their weight in gold when thinking of starting up a new business, as their ability to guide can be enough to motivate you past your self-doubt and to a plan for success.”

When you have imposter syndrome, you likely feel so lucky to have your current job that you wouldn’t dare be brave enough to go for something else – or do something riskier, like going freelance or starting your own business.

‘More than three million UK workers are looking to set up their own businesses in 2022 and almost half dream of becoming their own boss,’ says Alina. ‘However, imposter syndrome can make taking the plunge feel impossible. ‘Research reveals that side hustles can earn individuals an average of £4,500 a year, which you may miss out on should your anxiety hold you back.’ Dr Jo adds: ‘Imposter syndrome can hold people back from starting up their own businesses as the feelings of inadequacy can trigger our freeze mechanism, leading to procrastination and downplaying of abilities.’

‘In the current climate, regularly checking in on your finances can be daunting but it’s important to remember that it’s not unusual to find yourself feeling anxious or weighed down by money worries. ‘Instead of punishing yourself for any financial mishaps, focus on financial recovery and remember you can always seek professional advice if you’re not sure how to start.

‘Several financial advice services are available, whether you’re looking for guidance on managing debt, creating a budget, claiming benefits, or any other money concerns.’ We’d add a suggestion to that – if imposter syndrome is taking over your life, talk to a mental health professional. Let’s get to the root of the issue, unlearn these self-defeating thoughts, and start going for what we really want. A little extra cash will be a bonus.

Source: How Imposter Syndrome Ends Up Costing You Money

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سندرم ایمپاستر یا نشانگان خودویرانگری[۱] (به انگلیسی: impostor syndrome) یک پدیده روانی است که در آن افراد نمی‌توانند موفقیت‌هایشان را بپذیرند. بر خلاف آنچه شواهد بیرونی نشان می‌دهد که فرد با رقابت و تلاش به موفقیت رسیده، خود فرد تصور می‌کند که لیاقت موفقیت را ندارد و فریب‌کار است. فرد مبتلا به این نشانگان، موفقیت خودش را در نتیجهٔ خوش‌شانسی، زمان‌بندی خوب یا فریب دادن دیگران می‌داند و این موضوع که فرد باهوش یا تلاش‌گر است توسط خودش مورد پذیرش قرار نمی‌گیرد. این عبارت برای اولین بار توسط روانشناسان در مقاله ۱۹۷۸ عنوان شد و در آن برآورد شد که حدود ۷۰ درصد از انسان‌ها، نشانه‌هایی از این سندرم را در خود دارند. محققین از آن به عنوان مسئلهٔ مؤثر بر زنانی یاد می‌کنند که علی‌رغم داشتن جایگاهی برجسته در تحصیل و حرفه‌ٔ خود، پافشاری می‌کنند که هیچ استعدادی ندارند و هر کسی را که غیرِ این بیندیشد، نادان می‌پندارند. اما بسیاری از زنان موفق نسبت به اجرای خوب کار خود اضطراب دارند. دکتر سندی مان، استاد روان‌شناسی دانشگاه مرکزی لنکشر در بریتانیا، سه ویژگی اصلی سندرم ایمپاستر یا نشانگان خود‌ویرانگری افراد موفق را چنین بیان می‌کند:[۲] اولین ویژگی آن این است که افراد فکر می‌کنند دیگران تصوری اغراق‌شده و بیش‌از اندازه از توانایی‌ها و مهارت‌های آنها دارند، تصوری بسیار بزرگ‌تر از آنچه خود فرد از خودش دارد دومین ویژگی این است که شما در هراس شدیدی هستید که دست‌تان رو شود و دیگران فکر کنند در مورد توانایی‌های خود آنها را فریب داده‌اید. سومین ویژگی این است که به طور مداوم موفقیت‌های خود را با عوامل بیرون از توانایی و مهارت خودتان مقایسه و اندازه‌گیری می‌کنید و می‌سنجید …هانی لنکستر جیمز، روان‌شناس می‌گوید: «تجربهٔ داشتن سندروم ایمپاستر مانند این است که در تمام عمر با این ترس و نگرانی زندگی کنیم که دیگران ما را فریبکار بدانند و روزی بفهمند که در حد انتظارات و توقعات آنها نبوده‌ایم»

Reasons To Include International Investments In Your Portfolio

The United States currently represents 60% of the global equity market.¹ This means investors with an extreme home bias are ignoring 40% of the equity universe. In truth, doing so over the last 14.5 years would have worked out for you, but markets are cyclical, so it’s unlikely this lasts forever. There’s also a long history of throne-swapping between U.S. and international stocks (see chart). Particularly in today’s challenging market environment, investors should think twice before giving ex-U.S. assets the cold shoulder.

The U.S. stock market doesn’t always dominate

The United States doesn’t always dominate the global equity market! When U.S. stocks are facing headwinds, international stocks may rise to the occasion. Sustained periods of outperformance by one region have been fairly common historically.

These bouts can be significant. For example, consider the ‘lost decade’ for U.S. stocks that started in the early 2000s. Between 2000 – 2009, the cumulative total return for the S&P 500 was negative 9.1% vs positive 30.7% for the MSCI All Country World Index ex U.S.

International stocks could outperform if U.S. stocks are struggling

The graphic above breaks down performance of the S&P 500 vs the MSCI EAFE. During periods when domestic stocks produced below-average returns, international equities did better, by over 2% on average. Further, during all rolling 10-year periods since 1971, the top performer was almost a coin toss: the U.S. only did better 56% of the time.

Since trying to time regime changes is very difficult in real time without the benefit of hindsight, there are reasons to consider allocating both U.S. and ex-U.S. equities to an asset allocation.

Ex-U.S. equity may be able to help reduce risk in a portfolio

Having international exposure in your portfolio in the early 2000s and throughout the Global Financial Crisis would have been a key ingredient in reducing overall risk and maintaining some level of investment return.

By way of example, consider this hypothetical 60/40 portfolio of stocks to bonds. The U.S. only portfolio includes the S&P 500 and Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond index while the U.S. & international portfolio allocates 20% of the equity exposure to the MSCI All-Country World Index ex-U.S.

Other reasons to consider international assets in your portfolio

  • Different sector concentrations. The U.S. is fairly tech heavy. The S&P 500 is currently about 27% technology companies. Compare that to Europe at 7%. Exposure to other sectors like financials and commodities in emerging markets can add overall diversification.
  • Currency risk and return. At a high level, the relative strength of foreign currencies to the dollar has the potential to help or hurt returns. Asset managers can engage in different strategies to hedge or boost returns around foreign exchange rates, but the takeaway is that currency can be another layer of diversification.
  • Valuations. Valuations outside of the United States have been much cheaper to the long-run averages for quite some time. Especially relative to the U.S., international stocks look much more attractive on a valuation standpoint. Despite the selloff in 2022, the S&P 500 is only now just in line with the 20-year average P/E ratio.

The takeaway

Adding ex-U.S. stocks to your portfolio may be able to help reduce risk over the long-term. But there are downsides to be aware of. Most notably, international assets tend to be more volatile. These swings can be to the upside or the downside. And just as the unique elements of investing overseas (like foreign exchange rates or sector exposure) can help investors at times, they can also hurt U.S. investors in other circumstances.Quintex3-1-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

As with anything in investing, consider your personal risk tolerance, time horizon, and circumstances. Diversification isn’t a magic bullet, and if you do add international exposure to your portfolio, be sure to appropriately size the position to meet your needs.

I’m a Certified Financial Planner professional specializing in stock options and sudden wealth.

Source: Reasons To Include International Investments In Your Portfolio

International markets are generally divided into 2 categories:

  • Developed markets are located in countries that have established industries, widespread infrastructure, secure economies, and a relatively high standard of living.
    Examples of developed markets include the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, and France.
  • Emerging markets are located in countries that have developing capital markets and less-stable economies. However, they’re considered to be in the process of transitioning into developed markets, and they may be experiencing rapid growth. Currently, emerging markets make up about 15% to 20% of international markets in total.
    Examples of emerging markets include India, China, Egypt, South Africa, Mexico, and Russia.

Not surprisingly, developed markets are similar to the United States when it comes to volatility levels and the range of potential returns. Emerging markets are more volatile than developed markets and have a wider range of potential outcomes. For that reason, we recommend that you don’t overweight your allocation to emerging markets.

How to choose an international investment

There are a few ways you can invest in foreign markets:

  • International funds invest only in foreign markets, excluding the United States.
  • Global or world funds provide exposure to both foreign and U.S. markets.
  • Regional funds invest primarily in a specific part of the world, like Europe or the Pacific region.
  • Developed markets funds focus on foreign countries with proven economies, like Japan, France, or the United Kingdom.
  • Emerging markets funds combine investments in countries that are considered to have “developing” economies, like India, Brazil, or China.

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Understanding 51% Attacks on Bitcoin and Blockchain

A 51% attack doesn’t mean the attacker can send BTC from your wallet or account; it only means the blockchain has been compromised, and double-spending of crypto is imminent. Blockchains like Bitcoin and its contemporaries, with larger mining nodes and hash power, are less likely to be attacked due to the financial cost involved.

Blockchain technology is no longer a new word in this digital era. The name prevalently comes to mind anytime Bitcoin cryptocurrency is mentioned in any discourse. Unfortunately, the connection between blockchain and Bitcoin can’t be ruptured because the Bitcoin cryptocurrency brought blockchain to the limelight in 2008.

For clarity’s sake, Bitcoin is a blockchain on its own, while its native cryptocurrency that is used to incentivize miners is BTC—Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency was birthed through one of the several use cases of blockchain in the finance industry.

Consensus Mechanisms

A consensus mechanism is when the majority agrees on something or disagrees. Imagine you conduct a survey with 100 different people from different locations about how sweet a particular cookie is. If all 100 say it is sweet or otherwise, their opinion is unanimous, which marks a consensus.

The consensus mechanisms employed in all blockchain networks are similar to the example above. In the case of blockchain, miners replicate the audience that took the cookie survey. Back to Bitcoin mining.As mentioned earlier, the consensus mechanism of bitcoin is the PoW, where miners compete to solve complex cryptographic puzzles with their mining machines. Whoever can solve this puzzle faster and produces the winning hash wins the right to add the newly verified transaction data to a block.

Such a validator will be rewarded with the native crypto of the blockchain—BTC.What usually determines who wins the right to fill a new block with transaction data is having a mining machine with a high hash rate—i.e., machines that can produce more hashes per second. This can be achieved by having more machines and combining their mining power or getting machines with higher mining power to mine faster than your competitors.This suggestion can be likened to participating in a raffle where having more tickets increases your chances of winning. Now, what if an unscrupulous or malevolent actor has a higher mining power than other miners? Then, a 51% attack is imminent!

What Is a 51% Attack?

A 51% attack occurs when a malevolent miner in a blockchain network gains control of the blockchain mining power. This means that the miner—in this case, an attacker— will be able to mine faster than other miners because the attacker now controls more than 50% of mining power.

Having 51% control—which is the least percentage required to take over a blockchain network—is ominous.

Difference Between a 51% Attack and a 34% Attack

A 34% attack is known with the Tangle consensus algorithm. The attacker only falsifies the blockchain’s ledger by approving or disapproving transactions. In contrast, the 51% attack gives attackers control of a blockchain such that they can disrupt mining and the entire blockchain.

Implications of a 51% Attack on Blockchain and Bitcoin

When an attacker controls 51% mining power in a blockchain, then the security of such a blockchain has been compromised, leaving the attacker in control of transactions. Below are the implications of what’s bound to happen due to a 51% attack:

  1. Network Disruption by Delaying Validation of Transactions: The attacker disrupts the blockchain network by attacking the miner’s computing resources. In such a scenario, there’ll be a delay in the validation and storage of transactions in a block. As a result, the blockchain is hampered, causing the attacker to process transactions faster than the miners or even prevent another miner from adding blocks.
  2. Double Spending: Double spending occurs when miners spend their crypto twice on a particular blockchain network.How?
    Imagine if the attacker had previously purchased a Ferrari 250 GTO with 1,600 BTC; he paid for the car and got the delivery of the vehicle. During a 51% attack on the BTC blockchain, the attacker can reverse the 1,600 BTC transferred to the seller’s wallet such that he keeps the car and the BTC. The BTC can then be spent for another purpose. This is known as double-spending.
  3. Reduction in Miner’s Reward: Since miners are usually rewarded for validating transactions on a blockchain, in the wake of a 51% attack, the attacker steals the shares of other miners, making them earn less than what they’re supposed to earn.

Diminishes Blockchain’s Credibility

A 51% attack on a blockchain network will diminish the credibility of such a blockchain. Both miners and investors will not trust the security framework anymore. This might lead to abandoning the project or some exchanges delisting the crypto from their market.

Below are the examples of blockchains that have suffered a 51% attack:• BSV—Bitcoin Satoshi Vision—was attacked in August 2021• ETC—Ethereum Classic—was attacked thrice in August 2020

BTG—Bitcoin Gold— was attacked twice; once in 2018 and then in 2020

• GRIN was attacked in 2020, the attacker controlled about 58% of GRIN’s hash rate

VTC—Vertcoin—was also attacked twice in 2019

How to Prevent 51% Attack

i. Limited Hash Power – Blockchains running on the PoW mechanism should limit the hash power of each miner to 50% or lesser. This will pre-empt such an attackQuintex3-1-2-2-1-1-1-1

ii. Using PoS or DPoS A PoS- Proof-of-Stake- the mechanism is another consensus mechanism for validating blockchain transactions. It is eco-friendly because no power is needed, and it doesn’t require a sophisticated machine. PoS uses coin owners’ machines to mine crypto. Investors stake their coins in return for an opportunity to validate blocks.DPoS, on the other hand, means Delegated Proof-of-stake. It is a decentralized PoS where the crypto community appoints validators by voting. If a validator is perceived to be compromising the network, they are also voted out by the community.

Conclusion

A 51% attack doesn’t mean the attacker can send BTC from your wallet or account; it only means the blockchain has been compromised, and double-spending of crypto is imminent. Blockchains like Bitcoin and its contemporaries, with larger mining nodes and hash power, are less likely to be attacked due to the financial cost involved.

By Abubakar Maruf

Source: Understanding 51% Attacks on Bitcoin and Blockchain | HackerNoon

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What Stagflation Is, and How To Prepare For it

Runaway inflation has raised fears that the economy is headed towards a return of stagflation but a host of Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs and HSBC believe there remains opportunities for investors to safely navigate this tricky backdrop. Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s to refer to a combination of high inflation and high unemployment. Recent surveys show economists and fund managers see increased risks of stagflation on the horizon. There are steps you can take now to get in a better financial position in case stagflation or a recession does happen.

The next big risk to the U.S. economy may be summed up in one word. And no, it’s not necessarily recession, though economists are evenly split on the risks one is coming. Instead, 80% of economists in the same survey named stagflation as the greater long-term risk to the economy, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. The next biggest risk they identified was deflation, with 13% of respondents.

Moreover, a recent Bank of America global fund manager survey found fears of stagflation are the highest they have been since June 2008. Stagflation is “by far and away the most popular description of what the economic backdrop will be in the next 12 months,” according to the report.

What is stagflation?

Stagflation is a term coined in the 1970s when there was simultaneous high inflation and economic stagnation or high unemployment, according to Jonathan Wright, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. While there were some nasty recessions back then, many economists aren’t expecting a return to anything like that now, he said. “The sense in which you had stagflation in the 1970s is not one that I think is at all in the cards,” Wright said.

However, high inflation is prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates — known as tightening monetary policy. With that, it is “quite likely” the unemployment rate will rise “a fair bit” from the 3.6% it is at now, Wright said. The result may at least be a mild recession, he said. Stagflation may happen if a recession sets in before inflation has gone down to where the Fed wants it to be, Wright said.

For example, if unemployment were to go up to about 5% and consumer price index inflation were also at above 5% in 2023, that would be a kind of stagflation, though not to the degree we experienced in the 1970s, he said. “It certainly would mean that the job market would be a lot less hot than it’s been,” Wright said. In the near term, the labor market may cool simply by having fewer vacancies, he said.

How likely is stagflation?

Despite surveys sounding the alarm on stagflation, not everyone agrees it’s inevitable. “It doesn’t seem like a high probability,” said Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute. To have stagflation, you need both high unemployment and high inflation at the same time, which Bivens does not see as likely.

“If we had a situation where unemployment rose pretty sharply, I actually think that would likely cause inflation to start coming down pretty sharply,” Bivens said. A more likely scenario is that if we end the year with a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, we could be in a recession by 2023, he said. “If that happens, I just expect inflation to relent pretty quickly,” Bivens said.

How can you prepare for a recession or stagflation?

A combination of inflation and shrinkflation, where product companies reduce the contents of everything that we buy, is making it so people’s money just doesn’t go as far now, said Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner and CEO of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta.

Now, stagflation is also a possibility that clients are asking about, Jenkin said. “I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to hit a recession,” he said. “Whether this is a mild recession or we go into stagflation will be the big question.” Consequently, now is a great time to revisit your personal financial plan. “This is the absolute time for people to batten down the hatches and beef up the foundation of their financial house,” Jenkin said.

Try to aim for at least six months’ worth of emergency expenses in case a downturn does happen, he said. Also make sure you have prepared a recent budget to see if there are places where you can cut back. Additionally, take a look at any adjustable-rate debt you may have — credit cards, mortgages, student loans — and see if you can pare those balances down or refinance them. Now that interest rates are poised to go up, those balances will become more expensive.

Moreover, it’s a great time to invest in yourself to be more marketable professionally if layoffs become the norm. “Make sure you’ve really brushed up on your skills and competencies or education so that if the job market gets tighter, you’re marketable,” Jenkin said.

By: Lorie Konish

Source: What stagflation is, and how to prepare for it

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How Do Experts Know The Causes Behind The Stock Market’s Ups and Downs


Listener Katy Davis asks:

When reporters say, “The markets are down today based on XX,” sometimes it is something really obvious like a recent jobs report or a surprising boost to the economy. But sometimes it is something that seems so vague, like “based on fears about the situation in Greece.” Anyway, how do they know that? Are they calling traders and asking? Guessing? How can an entire day of trading be summed up like that? 

Sometimes the experts actually don’t know for sure. When asked how confident he is about his assessments, Commonwealth Financial Network’s chief investment officer, Brad McMillan, said:

“Not very. At the end of the day, this is an almost infinitely complex system.”

Some days, the drivers are more obvious than others, with news items like, yes, a recent jobs report. The Russia-Ukraine war. Or inflation numbers, like we saw Friday. The prices of consumer goods jumped 8.6% year over year in May, the highest rate since 1981. That showed inflation hasn’t slowed down, and it sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging almost 900 points. 

McMillan, who writes a Commonwealth blog, said you can draw a direct link between market movements and anything that “materially either changes or directly confirms expectations.” But it can get complicated. McMillan said he’ll look at various investment commentators’ second and third reactions to news that happened earlier in the week.

“For example, if the [Federal Reserve] raises rates, the initial reaction might well be, ‘Oh, my goodness, rates are higher. That’s bad for stocks,” he said.  But in the following days, the reaction might become: “If they raise rates, in the short term, that might increase the probability they’re gonna have to cut rates in the longer term. So on balance, that can be positive,” McMillan said.

There are multiple events happening at a given time, and McMillan has to parse which factors may be the most important. So right now, he’s paying attention to interest rates.  That’s because they strongly influence stock valuations. In recent blog post, McMillan explained:

“Lower rates mean higher valuations for stocks, which explains the market rally we saw during and after the pandemic, as rates were cut to zero and stocks soared. With rates rising again as the Fed tightens policy, we are seeing valuations adjust down, bringing down the market.”

There are also non-obvious factors that influence stocks, like the U.S. entering an election cycle. During years when there are midterms, McMillan said, the market performs worse. And because it’s something we expect, it can actually become a “self-fulfilling prophecy, to some extent,” he explained.

Sometimes there are factors that led to market upswings or declines that analysts hadn’t accounted for at the time. For example, analysts tend to underestimate corporate earnings growth, McMillan said.  Back in 2015, global markets suffered amid fears of a possible Greek default on the nation’s debt. Vague, as listener Katy Davis pointed out. Investors and financial experts explained to news outlets at the time that investors don’t like political risk.

John Blank, the chief equity strategist at Zacks Investment Research, delved into that problem. “Fears — of loss of capital — inside a country can be quantitatively expressed by other asset classes: by wider bond credit risk spreads, capital outflows that depreciate the domestic currency, higher lending rates, depressed activity. One would expect at least some of these to accompany a down stock market, in that case.”

Blank, who writes commentary for the firm, said analysts and experts can look at FinViz.com, a site that displays major stock indexes, stocks by market capitalization and “top gainers” or “top losers.”  Analysts can then tell how a specific sector, like health care, for instance, performed after an announcement from the government or another influential event, he explained.

Blank said sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on in the markets when there’s no obvious news that day, and an analyst might flag important upcoming news to help investors prepare.

By: Janet Nguyen

Source: How do experts know the causes behind the stock market’s ups and downs? – Marketplace

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