Today, I want to examine what others are thinking about this market.
I read Peter Brimelow's refreshing column, and on Monday he summarized the prognostications of some of the popular letter writers:
"Astrology oriented Crawford Perspectives ... up 50.75% last year, said, 'There are evidences that our whole system is melting down, and that could certainly disturb the normal cyclic flow. We believe that will NOT happen All At Once or Right Now! Even a drowning man gets a last breath or two before going down for the count.'"
But Brimelow notes that Crawford's "dabbling on the long side, after being triumphantly short through 2008, hasn't worked out particularly well." Crawford's most recent prediction was for "another shocking capitulation phase" starting on March 10. Oops! So much for planetary power.
Permanent bear Harry Schultz accurately predicted the crash of 2008, but Hulbert Financial Digest said that he didn't make any money on it (hmm).
Harry's latest service "repeats his 20-year V-formation forecast, with 'decline of buying power' until 2018 ('Lifestyle will be that of the '40s and '50s. One TV, one used car, no eating out, pinch pennies, etc.')."
Aden Forecast said, "The bear market has clearly been reconfirmed, which means that stocks are going lower. The market, however, is also extremely oversold and it's well overdue for at least a rebound rise. Keep the stocks you have for the time being, and do not sell at these bombed-out levels. On the upside, if the Dow Industrials were to close above 7,600, it would be a good first sign."
Earlier last week, Brimelow summarized Robert Prechter's current forecast based on Elliot Wave Theory this way: "On Feb. 23, Prechter recommended covering the shorts. Not all his reasons were comforting ('this is an environment of escalating financial chaos. Currently, banks and brokers can still pay us. We need to be smart bears, not pigs.'). But one reason was the possibility of a 'short and scary' bear market rally."
Congratulations, Mr. Prechter -- that rally may have started yesterday. And it could end just as quickly as it started.
And here is my definitive view of where the market is going if my target bottom of S&P 500 665 to 667 fails to hold.
Let's go back to the big breakdown in October from S&P 1,200. It failed to find a bottom for almost three weeks, finally settling in at 820 for a loss of more than 30%. What if the current stagnation requires a similar sell-off?
A break from the 800 line of 30% would net out at 560, and that's a number that many other analysts have been looking at as the final bear market target. And so there it is: either 665-667 or 560. It may not be in the stars, but under the present circumstance it's probably as good a guess as anyone else's.