A recent article in the New York Times contained this gem – a one paragraph explanation of the market that reminds us that value is all about demand.
“Public-securities markets are a wondrous artifice precisely because they offer permanent capital to industry and short-term liquidity to investors. Think about it: a General Electric or a Google sells stock to the public and then retains the proceeds — the capital — indefinitely. Even if the companies earn a profit, by selling more light bulbs or Internet ads, they are under no obligation to pay out the gains in dividends. How, then, do the shareholders claim their reward? Why, by selling their stock to other investors, of course. This means that, in the short term at least, each investor is dependent on the willingness of other investors to hop on board. If other investors go away, prices (even of solvent companies) plummet, to devastating effect on those who sell.”