Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't get caught in a bubble - Part 2

The 2nd bubble that we will talk about is the one that is most familiar to many of us. This bubble goes by many names, the dot com bubble, tech bubble, IT bubble etc but I shall call it the TMT bubble (as some in the financial industry calls it). TMT stands for Tech, Media and Telco (I think), and it is named as such bcos these are the sectors that rallied the most during those days in 1999 and 2000.

The index representative of this bubble is, of course, the NASDAQ, where most of the tech stocks are listed. Names like Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Amazon, Yahoo! etc. At the peak, NASDAQ was roughly at 5,000+. Again today it trades more than 50% discount of its peak at 2,200+ (though it is a good 100% up from its bottom at 1,100) So again even if you had bought 30% below its peak, you would still be under water today.

It remains to be seen whether the tech stocks will suffer the same fate as Japan, ie never surpassing the previous high. It is now 8 yrs after the bubble bursted, and the NASDAQ has since risen 90% from its low. If it takes another 8 yrs to rise another 90%, this will bring NASDAQ close to 4,200. So perhaps those who bought at 5,000 can actually breakeven after 16 yrs.

Then again, the annual compounded rate of return will be quite bad right? In fact it will be 0% IF it breaks even at 5,000 after 16 long years. If you hold out longer, maybe the return can creep up to 2-3%pa. So in order to reach an average return of 8%pa, perhaps you will have to hold 100 yrs or so.

Moral of the story: don't get caught in a bubble!


  1. Well said. From the Tulip bulb mania in the 1800s to the Commoditiy bubble. humans never learn.. nevertheless , at times of bubble there are neglected asset classes that are worth investing in . The opportunities are always there


  2. Thanks for the comment. If one can catch the next bubble, it's a good way to make a lot of money. But sadly usually out of others misery...