A deleveraging cycle is much like a secular bear market in that the market experiences a great deal of volatility, but tends to establish a sequence of troughs, each at lower levels of valuation (even if not at lower absolute prices). In that environment, there is significant risk of abrupt spikes in risk aversion (which implies abrupt price spikes to the downside), so you can’t trade with “hot” valuation or market action criteria. It should be no surprise that Graham and Dodd wrote Security Analysis following the post-credit crisis period of the 1920’s and 1930’s. If there’s one lesson from those environments, it is that valuations and the idea of a “margin of safety” takes precedence over all other considerations.
Here’s to one mutual fund manager that doesn’t think “cash is trash.”