Financial pundits often pine for what's known as the Goldilocks economy: that blissful oasis where all things macro and micro are just right. Back in 2006, Jeremy Grantham -- the "G" of world-class money management outfit GMO -- stood that concept on its head. He argued persuasively that we were experiencing what he termed a "Wile E. Coyote" market, with investors blithely "strolling out across the bottomless pit without a care in the world, whistling and looking up at the birds."
"To a degree I have never seen before," Grantham wrote in that prescient April 2006 quarterly letter, "today's U.S. equity market appears completely unimpressed with the growing list of negatives."
So where are we now? Well, from my vantage point, the market looks a lot like Britney Spears. There's a prospective comeback peeking out from behind the shadow of the slow-motion train wreck that we've been subjected to over the last year and change.
Like Spears' much-ballyhooed appearance during last Sunday's Video Music Awards -- a gig that followed her debacle-riffic showing in 2007 -- the government's bailout of Fannie Mae
Indeed, following the weekend announcement of the deal's particulars, global markets shot up in response. The U.S. quickly followed suit when Wall Street opened for business Monday morning. The S&P-tracking SPDRs
When the back-from-the-dead likes of homebuilders Toll Brothers
While we're no doubt far from the fabled "Goldilocks" economy -- see yesterday's market performance for all the gory details -- we, like Britney, just might be on the mend.
The stock market is generally a leading indicator in terms of the country's fiscal health, typically turning up well in advance of the overall economy. That's one reason why investing during soggy market periods is such a smart idea: There's no better time to buy quality on the cheap.
On that front, bargains abound. Consider that erstwhile highfliers such as ConocoPhillips
Though it may be as long as a full market cycle before these companies once again rule the proverbial roost, their temporary price slips allow long-term types to buy low and (eventually) sell higher.
Life is a highway
That's precisely what we aim to do at the Fool's new Ready-Made Millionaire service. Our fully invested, real-money portfolio focuses on highly profitable firms with robust growth prospects and stock prices that reflect a deep discount to our estimate of their worth. And while no all-equity portfolio is immune to short-term performance gyrations, we also aim to keep volatility in check over time by allocating generous chunks of change to world-class mutual funds (and one high- octane ETF) that will help you build wealth while sleeping peacefully at night.
RMM is currently closed to new members, but we'll reopen the doors in October. Between now and then, you can learn more about the service's set-and-forget portfolio, and snag a special free report -- The 11-Minute Millionaire -- by clicking right here. The report serves up a power trio of investing tips designed to help you navigate economies on the comeback trail -- as well as those that might need an extended stay in rehab. Click here to grab your free copy and read all about it.
Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Ready-Made Millionaire service and owns shares of Fannie Mae. The Motley Fool owns shares of SPDRs. The Fool's strict disclosure policy loves the smell of profits in the morning.