Investors are optimistic about equities. They have no alternative

“Allow me to explain about the theatre business,” says Philip Henslowe, the owner of the Rose theatre in “Shakespeare in Love”, a romantic comedy from 1998. “The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.” “So what do we do?” asks his companion. “Nothing,” Henslowe replies, “strangely enough, it all turns out well.” “How?” “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

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For a similar worldview, look at your average equity investor. America’s stockmarket has spent a decade and more climbing a wall of worry. It has shrugged off the aftermath of a financial crisis, geopolitical tensions and a pandemic that shut down industries. After slumping earlier this year, of late it has been on a tear, war and inflation notwithstanding. Like Henslowe,…

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