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Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side

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It's given me a few things to think about, but it hasn't made me feel more confident in my ability to read the market. Mastering the Market Cycle is his second book, the much-anticipated follow up to The Most Important Thing. For starters, it’s pretty much impossible to predict the distant future with greater accuracy than other investors. Corporate management is not immune to the swings from risk-averse to risk-tolerant either (see the financial crisis).

When total fear replaces a high degree of confidence, excessive risk aversion takes the place of unrealistic risk tolerance. Positioning: deciding the appropriate portfolio risk level — more/less risk-averse or risk-tolerant — based on the location in the cycles.Imagine you’re a financial investor – a successful one, with your own capital-management firm and over 40 years experience in the market.

Howard Marks, among the world's most successful investment managers as well as an intellectual leader of the profession [has written a new book]. Operating Leverage: Most businesses have a combination of fixed and variable costs, meaning costs will fluctuate. This cycle in investors’ willingness to value the future is one of the most powerful cycles that exist. There’s a reason for why Buffett says if he finds Howard published a new memo, he stops what he’s doing and reads it right away - yes, Buffett, probably the best to ever do it. But the force behind regression continues to exert itself, the momentum pushes the cycle past the midpoint to the next high or low.According to the author, who happens to be just such an investor, the most common questions relate to market cycles. And not the banker who loaned the money for its construction and then repossessed the project from the developer in the down-cycle. There’s a range of outcomes, and we don’t know where [the actual outcome is] going to fall within the range. If you’re uncertain as to whether there will be a correction in the market – or if you think there’s no reason to worry because ‘it’s different this time’ – you have to read this book before you make a move.

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