As we head through October into the sunset of this damned year, let’s dwell on some of the few reasons to be optimistic, shall we?
I have good news. Nay, that’s too mild – I have reason to rejoice, true cause for celebration…
You see, I’ve found evidence – proof – that despite the pandemic, mankind’s passion for progress burns with a fury like never seen before. That the lockdowns, the fear and the chaos, have done nothing to extinguish the desire of man to transcend his existence through his own innovation. The total opposite, in fact.
What is this evidence, you ask?
Well, it’s right here:
That, my dear reader, is usage of the word “visionary” in corporate filings over the last decade.
Doesn’t that inspire you?
Doesn’t it just fill you with optimism for the future?
No wonder the US stockmarket is so highly priced: the halls of corporate America must be teaming with visionaries!
That’s the magic of no interest rates. Entrepreneurs don’t have to compete against deposits at the bank when attracting capital from investors any more. There’s no longer a bank account out there which could lure away prospective backers; no risk-free rate (not larger than 1%, anyway) exists to draw them back from adventurous money-making schemes.
Without that pesky number getting in the way, raising capital is now purely an exercise in capturing the imagination of investors better than anyone else. And that takes vision.
I’m reminded of the children’s TV show Over the Moon with Mr Boom, which aired in the early nineties on the BBC. The presenter, a Scottish one-man band, would sit on the lunar surface and investigate events down on Earth through a giant telescope, educating the young viewers on what he saw.
“Use your imagination,” he would sing through the outro. “Jump over the moon to me.”
If only he were in the business of market analysis. Or maybe he was and I was just too young to realise it, for it would appear many investors have obeyed his instructions and made the jump. The Nasdaq has reached such heights that Mr Boom likely no longer requires his mighty telescope to inspect it.
Perhaps a reader invested in a Nasdaq tracker fund will let me know what it’s like up there with their fellow visionaries.
I’m informed that Mr Boom has since retired from television and now sports a beard. I sincerely hope that he was following his own investment advice – which the fullness of time has proved to be magnificent – and is fittingly living the retirement of a plutocrat.
If only my four-year-old self had listened. And if only he had issued further instructions. What about after you make it to the moon? Where do investors jump then..?
Only time will tell. Perhaps a children’s TV show today has the answer. But on a more serious note before I leave for today, take another look at that first chart. Every year over the past ten has commenced with a spike in companies using the word “visionary” – a tactic which must work time and again in goosing investor expectations, or they wouldn’t do it. Perhaps this does speak to the optimism of mankind after all, as everybody keeps on being taken in by it…
All the best,
Editor, Southbank Investment Research