Focusing exclusively on the best companies means bypassing half the market's profit potential.
Sears Hldgs Corp
Corporate debt bombs – companies that have over-borrowed because of historically low interest rates – will be at a much greater risk of exploding when the Federal Reserve starts raising interest rates over the next couple of years.
These companies were OK as long as rates stayed low, but now the Fed is telegraphing its intent to raise rates to 1% next year and 2% in 2018.
What a shock – the Fed didn't raise interest rates last week. Its next chance is in December – we'll see if it chickens out then, too.
You can count on markets to obsess over the possibility of a rate hike for the rest of the year. Anything to keep the free money hose on full blast.
But this obsession with rate hikes means the markets are missing a critical component of the big picture – corporate credit quality. It's really in horrible shape, but eight years of zero interest rates have helped to disguise that fact, and these companies aren't advertising it to shareholders.
Now that the Fed is contemplating raising interest rates, their disguise could be ripped off.
The truth is, "Corporate America" is far more leveraged now than it was on the cusp of the financial crisis.