There is an extraordinary main feature in this week’s Barron’s, the leading US investment magazine.
This analyses the dramatic 391 point rally in the Dow Jones Industrials Index on 1 April. It describes this as ‘a spectacular exercise in the absurd’, and claims that the root cause was an April Fools spoof sent out that morning by a very prominent bearish commentator.
Doug Kass (known as the Bear who Never Sleeps) sent out an April Fools note in which he suggested the Dow would soon hit 56,000, after a 26% rise in 2008. He also joked that foreign buyers would now rush to buy up foreclosed US properties, oil prices were about to fall 50%, and that there would be no US recession. Barron’s claims that these views were picked up by many foreign news media (who probably did not understand the April Fools concept), as well as hundreds of ‘investment websites’.
Was this really the cause of the rally? Who knows? But for Barron’s to write about it so prominently suggests that they are convinced.