Are markets experiencing a 'fear bubble'?

Joseph Lazzaro

In the past 15 years, the U.S. economy has generated dot-com, Nasdaq, housing and commodity bubbles. Now it's being hurt by another type of bubble: a 'fear bubble,' at least in the analysis of energy trader Paul Schmidt.

Schmidt mentioned the concept during a conversation with DailyFinance Monday, and here's his argument: There's $45-65 trillion in investment capital in the United States, depending on the methodology one uses and what you classify as a 'liquid asset.' That's plenty of money to get the gears of commerce moving, in Schmidt's view. The trouble is that not nearly enough investment activity is actually occurring.