I feel so blessed that I have so many really smart, really great friends. In the hope that one day I might understand the equity markets so I can more confidently invest in them, I called a handful of friends that manage equity funds to talk to them about whether or not equities are cheap? First of all, they all hate that question. Since all equity managers are long (own stocks) they always believe they hold companies that have tremendous value that is yet to be realized. After I apologized for asking them that question, I asked it in a different way. “Today, are you finding that there is much more value to be realized in the companies that you own? How long has it been since you have found so much value at current prices? The short answer is, not for a long time. Three very smart, very successful managers say that they cannot believe how cheap they are buying their companies. “Even in a recession scenario? Even with substantial revisions to earnings” I ask? They still respond confidently. I like that. Honestly I am still very afraid of buying indexes right here, but the time might well be right to give money to very good managers in search of that ever elusive alpha.