In Bizarro World a creation of Superman publisher DC Comics nothing is like youd find it back on Earth.
Bizarro Superman is an ugly specimen who spends time reshaping his home planet from a sphere into a cube as punishment for being too perfect.
And Batzarro the Bizarro Batman calls himself The Worlds Worst Detective.
It can be amusing to see things turned upside down whether in a comic, or in serious drama like Amazons smash hit The Man In The High Castle, in which America has been carved up between Nazi Germany and its Japanese allies in an alternative version of history.
But its not quite so entertaining when its happening to your portfolio.
The wrong sort of woe
2016 has already been one of the weirdest years for investors for some time.
Perhaps everything will make sense with hindsight, but at the moment it seems to be bamboozling the markets and prompting huge volatility.
Now, I did think we were due a choppy period.
If youve been taking notes, you might remember my FICKLE year theory from late last year.
The acronym was meant to highlight how we could expects big moves in bonds, currencies and the emerging markets and how, combined with the high amount of leverage in the system, that could cause some instability.
Which might seem like a reason for me to take a victory lap
Except that like the vast majority of market watchers, I expected a different sort of volatility!
At the start of the year, the consensus was that Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates three or fourtimes this year.
Such rises would have global consequences, by strengthening the value of the US dollar for instance, and potentially making overseas debt, particularly in the emerging markets, unappealing.
However, in less time than it takes to say What, February already?, those expectations have gone out the window.
The markets now judge theres less than a 30% chance of even one more rate hike in the US this year.
A cornucopia of factors have confounded the Feds plans, from the Japanese Central Bank introducing negative interest ratesto more bad news from China, slowing US jobs growth, andan increasingly morose global economy.
The UK Bank of England is no longer thought likely to raise interest rates this year, either and thats partly a result of the changing picture in the US.
Dont bank on it
I expect most Collective members understand these changes in expectations are of more than academic interest after years of Central Banks and their bosses Janet Yellen in the US, Mario Draghi in Europe, and Mark Carney in the UK holding centre stage.
But if you need more convincing, consider the performance of big bank shares in 2016, which are down 30-50% across the globe in just a matter of weeks.
Interest rates had been expected to rise as the world economy strengthened both factors that should have been good for the biggest banks.
But now yields are flattening and people are worrying about an imminent recession, even in the US.
And bank shares have been hit for six.
Or consider miners and oil giants.
Left for dead by many investors at the end of 2015, theyve actually had a relatively good 2016 so far.
Again, its the Bizarro World effect.
Traders were betting on a stronger dollar, but its been weakening recently, which means it takes more dollars to buy most commodities which are priced in dollars and that in turn means potentially higher prices and higher earnings for hard-pressed producers.
Thats one reason why miners and energy firms have caught a bid.
But actually, if were starting to fear a protracted global recession then shouldnt these suppliers of the raw fuel of economic expansion be sold off?
Not in Bizarro World.
And equally, is it likely well see a big recession when oil prices are so low, and presumably giving a huge boost to most of the worlds bottom line?
In Bizarro World, apparently that is a possibility.
Finally, consider that one of the best performing shares of 2016 so far has been Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS).
Its risen a whopping 44% on the back of a rising gold price yet another thing almost nobody saw coming when the year began.
To cap it all, even as the ultimate old-fashioned asset has found renewed favour, technology shares that dominated returns in recent years have slumped.
The key US NASDAQ technology index is down 16% already this year.
Yet another stunning reversal of fortune
Of course, there may well be rational reasons to explain these shifts.
In the fullness of time well be better placed to know where the market was correctly discounting a changing economic landscape, and where investors were perhaps getting a bit carried away or even emotional.
Ive had fun with my Bizarro World motif, but I dont think rationality has entirely broken down.
However, I do think the big reversals of 2016 are notable.
To my mind, they reinforce how useful it can be to try to think different in investing and to buy the stuff nobody wants while its cheap.
That way, you own it when everything is turned on its head and its back in fashion again!
Foolish Final Thought
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