Category Archives: Stock Market

Discussion about the stock market, trading and investment, market timing.

Prepare for the Stock Market Crash

How to Prepare for the Coming Crash and Preserve Your Wealth

Bob Prechter first released Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression during a stock-market high in 2002, and it quickly became a New York Times–bestseller. Now he has updated the book with 188 new pages for a second edition, and it looks like it, too, will be published near a stock-market high. John Wiley & Sons plans published the new edition in late October. Visit Elliott Wave International for information on how to order the new edition from major online retailers.

As was widely reported in the dark days of late February and early March 2009, Prechter called for the start of the biggest stock market rally since the 2007 high. He recommended speculators close the S&P short position that he recommended at 2007 top. Since then, the S&P has soared more than 80 percent in 2 years and seems to have topped in 2011. During the rally Prechter has called virtually all the minor tops to get in short positions for speculators. As of October 2011, his last short at the stock market top and the gold short has paid off. In his monthly newsletters, Prechter continues to remain bearish and thinks market will continue to decline with lower highs and lower lows with many bear market rallies that will make it look like a bull market.

The first edition of Conquer the Crash, which was published in early 2002, was “on the mark” with regard to our current economic environment — so much so that it’s uncanny. Prechter’s message has been good for investors who kept their money safe and for speculators who profited from declines. And he still expects a great buying opportunity ahead for those who can keep their money safe until it arrives. Here is a short list of some of the accurate predictions he made in 2002 that have come to fruition:

Credit Deflation

“Usually the culprit behind [simultaneous stock and real estate] declines is a credit deflation. If there were ever a time we were poised for such a decline, it is now.” Chapter 16

Bailout Schemes

“If [governments] leap unwisely into bailout schemes, they will risk damaging the integrity of their own debt, triggering a fall in its price. Either way … deflation will put the brakes on their actions.” Chapter 32

Banking and Insurance Stocks

“We will see stocks going down 90 percent and more … [and] bank and insurance company failures….” Chapter 14

Collateralized Securities

“Banks and mortgage companies … have issued $6 trillion worth of [securitized loans]…. In a major economic downturn, this credit structure will implode.” Chapter 19

Derivatives

“Leveraged derivatives pose one of the greatest risks to banks….” Chapter 19

Mortgage-Backed Securities

“Major financial institutions actually invest in huge packages of … mortgages, an investment that they and their clients (which may include you) will surely regret…. Chapter 16

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

“Investors in these companies’ stocks and bonds will be just as surprised when [Fannie and Freddie's] stock prices and bond ratings collapse.” Chapter 25

Banks

“Banks are not just lent to the hilt, they’re past it. In a fearful market, liquidity even on these so called ‘securities’ [corporate, municipal, and mortgage-backed bonds] will dry up.”… One expert advises, ‘The larger, more diversified banks at this point are the safer place to be.’ That assertion will surely be severely tested….” Chapter 19

Insurance Companies

“The values of insurance company holdings, from stocks to bonds to real estate (and probably including junk bonds as well), will be falling precipitously…. As the values of most investments fall, the value of insurance companies’ portfolios will fall…. When insurance companies implode, they file for bankruptcy….” Chapters 15, 24

Real Estate

“What screams ‘bubble’ – giant, historic bubble – in real estate today is the system-wide extension of massive amounts of credit to finance property purchases…. [People] have been taking out home equity loans so they can buy stocks and TVs and cars…. This widespread practice is brewing a terrible disaster.” Chapter 16

Rating Services

“Most rating services will not see it coming.” Chapter 25

Political Leaders

“A leader does not control his country’s economy, but the economy mightily controls his image.” Chapter 27

Short-Selling Ban

“In a bear market, bullish investors always come to believe that short sellers are ‘driving the market down’…. Sometimes authorities outlaw short selling. In doing so, they remove the one class of investors that must buy.” Chapter 20

Psychological Change

“When the social mood trend changes from optimism to pessimism, creditors, debtors, producers and consumers change their primary orientation from expansion to conservation….” Chapter 9

Confidence

“Confidence has probably reached its limit. A multi-decade deceleration in the U.S. economy … will soon stress debtors’ ability to pay…. Total credit will contract, so bank deposits will contract, so the supply of money will contract….” Chapter 11

Falling Tax Receipts

“Governments … spend and borrow throughout the good times and find themselves strapped in bad times, when tax receipts fall.” Chapter 32

“Retirement programs such as Social Security in the U.S. are wealth-transfer schemes, not funded insurance, so they rely upon the government’s tax receipts. Likewise, Medicaid is a federally subsidized state-funded health insurance program, and as such, it relies upon transfers of states’ tax receipts. When people’s earnings collapse in a depression, so does the amount of taxes paid, which forces the value of wealth transfers downward.” Chapter 32

“The tax receipts that pay for roads, police and jails, fire departments, trash pickup, emergency (911) monitoring, water systems and so on will fall to such low levels that services will be restricted.” Chapter 32

For more information on the new second edition of Conquer the Crash, visit Elliott Wave International. Bob Prechter has added 188 new pages of critical information to his New York Times bestseller.

Bob Prechter’s “Conquer The Crash”: Eight Chapters For Free

When EWI President Robert Prechter sat down to write the first edition of Conquer The Crashin 2002, the idea that the United States would enter a period of what news authorities coined “economic Armageddon” several years later was unheard of.

Flashing back, the major blue-chip averages were rebounding off a historic bottom, the notorious dot.com bust was making way for a powerful housing boom, Fannie Mae’s chief executive was named “the most confident CEO in America,” then President George Bush was enjoying a 60%-plus approval rating, Gulf War II hadn’t begun yet, and when it did, a “quick and easy victory” was supposed to follow, and the Federal Reserve was largely credited with slaying the big, bad bear via the sharp blade of monetary policy.
Five years later, the tables turned. The U.S. housing market endured its worst downturn since the Great Depression; Fannie Mae’s CEO was ousted amidst a mortgage crisis of incalculable damage. George W. Bush left the oval office with a record low approval rating of 25%, and the expected “cakewalk” victory in Iraq became a “quagmire” and national dilemma.

Anticipating these and other “shocks” to the global system is the unparalleled achievement of “Conquer The Crash.” Here, the following excerpts from the book put any doubt to rest:

  • Housing: “What screams bubble – giant historic bubble – in real estate is the system-wide extension of massive amount of credit.” And “Home equity loans are brewing a terrible disaster.”
  • Bonds: “The unprecedented mass of vulnerable bonds extant today is on the verge of a waterfall of downgrading.”
  • Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: “Investors in these companies’ stocks and bonds will be just as surprised when the stock prices and bond ratings collapse.”
  • Politics: “Look for nations and states to split and shrink.” And — “The Middle East should be a complete disaster.”
  • Credit Expansion Schemes “have always ended in a bust.” And — “Like the discomfort of drug addiction withdrawal, the discomfort of credit addiction withdrawal cannot be avoided.”
  • Banks: “Banks are not just lent to the hilt, they’re past it. In a fearful market, liquidity even on these so called ‘securities’ [corporate, municipal, and mortgage-backed bonds] will dry up.” (176)

If the tools in Bob Prechter’s analytical toolbox, namely Elliott wave analysis and socionomics (Prechter’s new science of social prediction based on the Wave Principle), enabled him to foresee these “sea changes” in the economic, social, and political landscape — the only question is: What else do the pages of the “Conquer The Crash” reveal?

Well, your opportunity to find out just got a whole lot easier. Right now, you can download the 8-chapter Conquer the Crash Collection, free. It includes:

Chapter 10: Money, Credit And The Federal Reserve Banking System
Chapter 13: Can The Fed Stop Deflation?
Chapter 23: What To do With Your Pension Plan
Chapter 28: How To Identify A Safe Haven
Chapter 29: Calling In Loans & Paying Off Debt
Chapter 30: What You Should Do If You Run A Business
Chapter 32: Should You Rely On The Government To Protect You?
Chapter 33: Short List of Imperative ‘Do’s’ & ‘Don’ts”

Visit Elliott Wave International to learn more about the free Conquer the Crash Collection.

Why Do Traders Fail?

The following is an excerpt from Jeffrey Kennedy’s Trader’s Classroom Collection. Now through February 6, Elliott Wave International is offering a special 45-page Best Of Traders Classroom eBook, free.

I think that, as a general rule, traders fail 95% of the time, regardless of age, race, gender or nationality. The task at hand could be as simple as learning to ride a bike for the first time or as complex as mapping the human genome. Ultimate success in any enterprise requires that we accept failure along the way as a constant companion in our everyday lives.

I didn’t just pull this 95% figure from thin air either. I borrowed it from the work of the late, great Dr. W. Edward Deming, who is the father of Total Quality Management, commonly known as TQM. His story is quite interesting, and it actually has a lot to do with how to trade well.

Dr. Deming graduated with degrees in electrical engineering, mathematics and mathematical physics. Then, he began working with Walter A. Shewhart at Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he began applying statistical methods to industrial production and management. The result of his early work with Shewhart resulted in a seminal book, Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control.

Since American industry spurned many of his ideas, Deming went to Japan shortly after World War II to help with early planning for the 1951 Japanese Census. Impressed by Deming’s expertise and his involvement in Japanese society, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers invited him to play a key role in Japan’s reconstruction efforts. Deming’s work is largely responsible for why so many high quality consumer products come from Japan even to this day.

In turn, Japanese society holds Dr. W. Edward Deming in the highest regard. The Prime Minister of Japan recognized him on behalf of Emperor Hirohito in 1960. Even more telling, Deming’s portrait hangs in the lobby at Toyota headquarters to this day, and it’s actually larger than the picture of Toyota’s founder.

So why do people fail? According to Deming, it’s not because people don’t try hard enough or don’t want to succeed. People fail because they use inadequate systems. In other words, when traders fail, it’s primarily because they follow faulty trading systems – or that they follow no system at all.

So what is the right system to follow as a trader? To answer this question, I offer you what the trader who broke the all-time real-money profit record in the 1984 United States Trading Championship offered me. He told me that a successful trader needs five essentials:

1. A Method
You must have a method that is objectively definable. This method should be thought out to the extent that if someone asks how you make decisions to trade, you can quickly and easily explain. Possibly even more important, if the same question is asked again in six months, your answer will be the same. This is not to say that the method cannot be altered or improved; it must, however, be developed as a totality before implementing it.

2. The Discipline to Follow Your Method
‘Discipline to follow the method’ is so widely understood by true professionals that among them it almost sounds like a cliché. Nevertheless, it is such an important cliché that it cannot be ignored. Without discipline, you really have no method in the first place. And this is precisely why many consistently successful traders have military experience – the epitome of discipline.

3. Experience
It takes experience to succeed. Now, some people advocate “paper trading” as a learning tool. Paper trading is useful for testing methodologies, but it has no real value in learning about trading. In fact, it can be detrimental, because it imbues the novice with a false sense of security. “Knowing” that he has successfully paper-traded during the past six months, he believes that the next six months trading with real money will be no different. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Why? Because the markets are not merely an intellectual exercise, they are an emotional one as well. Think about it, just because you are mechanically inclined and like to drive fast doesn’t mean you have the necessary skills to win the Daytona 500.

4. The Mental Fortitude to Accept that Losses Are Part of the Game
The biggest obstacle to successful trading is failing to recognize that losses are part of the game, and, further, that they must be accommodated. The perfect trading system that allows for only gains does not exist. Expecting, or even hoping for, perfection is a guarantee of failure. Trading is akin to batting in baseball. A player hitting .300 is good. A player hitting .400 is great. But even the great player fails to hit 60% of the time! Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to win in the markets. Practically speaking, this is why you also need an objective money management system.

5. The Mental Fortitude to Accept Huge Gains
To win the game, make sure that you understand why you’re in it. The big moves in markets come only once or twice a year. Those are the ones that will pay you for all the work, fear, sweat and aggravation of the previous 11 months or even 11 years. Don’t miss them for reasons other than those required by your objectively defined method. Don’t let yourself unconsciously define your normal range of profit and loss. If you do, when the big trade finally comes along, you will lack the self-esteem to take all it promises. By doing so, you abandon both method and discipline.

So who was the all-time real-money profit record holder who turned in a 444.4% return in a four-month period in 1984? Answer: Robert Prechter … and throughout the contest he stuck to his preferred method of analysis, the Elliott Wave Theory.

TradersClassroom Why Do Traders Fail?
Get 14 Critical Lessons Every Trader Should KnowLearn about managing your emotions, developing your trading methodology, and the importance of discipline in your trading decisions in The Best of Trader’s Classroom, a FREE 45-page eBook from Elliott Wave International.

Since 1999, Jeffrey Kennedy has produced dozens of Trader’s Classroom lessons exclusively for his subscribers. Now you can get “the best of the best” in these 14 lessons that offer the most critical information every trader should know.

Find out why traders fail, the three phases of a trader’s education, and how to make yourself a better trader with lessons on the Wave Principle, bar patterns, Fibonacci sequences, and more!

Don’t miss your chance to improve your trading. Download your FREE eBook today!

News and Earnings Are Not What Moves Stocks

Sometimes you know that a company earnings will be good. You buy the stock and you wait for the earnings announcement. Stock goes up until the good news are out. And then it sells off and you are frustrated. Sometimes you see the market crashing in the morning, the media says “home builders are in trouble”. You should the builders. Then in the afternoon market rallies and the news headline reads “FED optimism rallies stocks, traders shrugged home builder news”. Why does this keep happening in our day to day trading?

How News Are Interpreted by the Markets:
Same Day. Same Event. Same Market. Different Story!

“There is no group more subjective than conventional analysts.” — Robert Prechter. 

Elliott wavers sometimes hear the criticism that patterns in market charts can be “open to interpretation.” For example, what looks like a finished 1-2-3 correction to one analyst, another analyst may interpret as 1-2-3 of a developing impulse, with waves 4 and 5 on the way.

Does this happen? Absolutely. (Although, there are always tools an Elliottician can employ to firm up the wave count.) But here’s the real question: What’s the alternative?
Typical alternatives amount to analysis of the “fundamentals”: Jobs, interest rates, CPI, PPI, what Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday — it all goes into the pot. Result? Well, if you think it’s clear and unambiguous, guess again. Here’s a fresh example.

Find out what really moves markets — download the free 118-page Independent Investor eBook. The Independent Investor eBook shows you exactly what moves markets and what doesn’t. You might be surprised to discover it’s not the Fed or “surprise” news events. Learn more, and download your free ebook here.

On the evening of February 18, in a surprise move, the Federal Reserve raised its discount rate — the interest rate at which it lends money to banks. The next morning the S&P futures were pointing lower; everyone was bracing for a weak day — because, as conventional thinking goes, higher interest rates are bad for business, the economy, and ultimately for the stock market. Friday morning, stocks indeed opened lower and major news headlines confirmed:

  • Wall St opens weaker after Fed move
  • … Investors Wary After Fed Move
  • Stocks Open Lower After Surprise Fed Move

But around 11am that same morning, the DJIA turned around and moved higher. Now look at what the headlines from major sources were saying after lunch on February 19:

  • US stocks bounce back; Fed move viewed in positive light
  • US Stocks Up A Bit On Fed Discount Rate Increase
  • Stocks Higher After Fed Move

What was a “bearish move” by the Fed in the morning morphed into a “bullish” one by the afternoon! Same event. Same market. Same day. Completely opposite interpretation!

This brings to mind the answer EWI’s President Robert Prechter once gave when asked about the objectivity of Elliott wave analysis. Bob said:

“I always ask, ‘compared to what?’ There is no group more subjective than conventional analysts who look at the same ‘fundamental’ news event — a war, the level of interest rates, the P/E ratio, GDP reports, you name it — and come up with countless opposing conclusions. They generally don’t even bother to study the data. Show me a forecasting method that is totally objective or contains no human interpretation. There is no such thing, even in a black box. To answer your question more specifically, though, properly there should be no subjectivity in interpreting Elliott waves patterns. There is a set of rules and guidelines for that interpretation. Interpretation gives you only the most probable scenario(s), not a sure one. But people mislabel probabilistic forecasting as subjectivity. And subjectivity or bias can ruin that value, just as in any other approach. Sometimes we screw up. But in contrast to the outrageously improbable (if not downright false) wave interpretations or other types of forecasts we often see from others, we are as close to an objective service as you’re going to find. We hire analysts who know the rules of Elliott cold.”

Find out what really moves markets — download the free 118-page Independent Investor eBook. The Independent Investor eBook shows you exactly what moves markets and what doesn’t. You might be surprised to discover it’s not the Fed or “surprise” news events. Learn more, and download your free ebook here.

 

Vadim Pokhlebkin joined Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave International in 1998. A Moscow, Russia, native, Vadim has a Bachelor’s in Business from Bryan College, where he got his first introduction to the ideas of free market and investors’ irrational collective behavior. Vadim’s articles focus on the application of the Wave Principle in real-time market trading, as well as on dispersing investment myths through understanding of what really drives people’s collective investment decisions.

Earnings: Is That REALLY What’s Driving The DJIA Higher?

The idea of earnings driving the broad stock market is a myth.

It’s corporate earnings season again, and everywhere you turn, analysts talk about the influence of earnings on the broad stock market:

  • · US Stocks Surge On Data, 3Q Earnings From JPMorgan, Intel (Wall Street Journal)
  • · Stocks Open Down on J&J Earnings (Washington Post)
  • · European Stocks Surge; US Earnings Lift Mood (Wall Street Journal)

With so much emphasis on earnings, this may come as a shock: The idea of earnings driving the broad stock market is a myth.

When making a statement like that, you’d better have proof. Robert Prechter, EWI’s founder and CEO, presented some of it in his 1999 Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior (excerpt; italics added):

  • Are stocks driven by corporate earnings? In June 1991, The Wall Street Journal reported on a study by Goldman Sachs’s Barrie Wigmore, who found that “only 35% of stock price growth [in the 1980s] can be attributed to earnings and interest rates.” Wigmore concludes that all the rest is due simply to changing social attitudes toward holding stocks. Says the Journal, “[This] may have just blown a hole through this most cherished of Wall Street convictions.”
  • What about simply the trend of earnings vs. the stock market? Well, since 1932, corporate profits have been down in 19 years. The Dow rose in 14 of those years. In 1973-74, the Dow fell 46% while earnings rose 47%. 12-month earnings peaked at the bear market low. Earnings do not drive stocks.

And in 2004, EWI’s monthly Elliott Wave Financial Forecast added this chart and comment:

market top and earnings News and Earnings Are Not What Moves Stocks

Earnings don’t drive stock prices. We’ve said it a thousand times and showed the history that proves the point time and again. But that’s not to say earnings don’t matter. When earnings give investors a rising sense of confidence, they can be a powerful backdrop for a downturn in stock prices. This was certainly true in 2000, as the chart shows. Peak earnings coincided with the stock market’s all-time high and stayed strong right through the third quarter before finally succumbing to the bear market in stock prices. Investors who bought stocks based on strong earnings (and the trend of higher earnings) got killed.

So if earnings don’t drive the stock market’s broad trend, what does? The Elliott Wave Principle says that what shapes stock market trends is how investors collectively feel about the future. Investors’ mood — or social mood — changes before “the fundamentals” reflect that change, which is why trying to predict the markets by following the earnings reports and other “fundamentals” will often leave you puzzled. The chart above makes that clear.

Get Your FREE 8-Lesson “Conquer the Crash Collection” Now! You’ll get valuable lessons on what to do with your pension plan, what to do if you run a business, how to handle calling in loans and paying off debt and so much more. Learn more and get your free 8 lessons here.

 

Robert Prechter, Chartered Market Technician, is the world’s foremost expert on and proponent of the deflationary scenario. Prechter is the founder and CEO of Elliott Wave International, author of Wall Street best-sellers Conquer the Crash and Elliott Wave Principle and editor of The Elliott Wave Theoristmonthly market letter since 1979.

Earnings Do Not Drive Stock Prices – See The Proof in This Chart

A free Club EWI report exposes the TEN most misleading myths of Wall Street, including this one: “Earnings drive the stock market.”

Since the time of buttonwood trees, Wall Street has had its own version of the Ten Commandments – the cornerstone principles of conventional economic wisdom. The first of these writ-in-stone notions is the widespread belief that earnings drive the stock market.

By this line of reasoning, knowing where a market’s prices will trend next is simply a matter of knowing how the companies that comprise said market are expected to perform. On this, the recent news items below capture the public’s devoted following of earnings data:

  • “Stocks Rebound As Investors Await Earnings.” (Associated Press)
  • “US Stocks Drop As Earnings Data Fall Short” (MarketWatch)
  • “Sideways Market Looks For Direction: Earnings Could Point The Way” (MarketWatch)

In reality, though, much of this belief is based on faith, not facts. While earnings may play a role in the price of an individual stock, the stock market as a whole marches to a different drummer.

You get this ground-breaking revelation in the FREE report from Club Elliott Wave International (Club EWI, for short) titled “Market Myths Exposed”. In Chapter One, our editors shatter the smoke-screen surrounding the widespread notion that “Earnings Drive Stock Prices” with these enlightening insights:

“Quarterly earnings reports announce a company’s achievements from the previous quarter. Trying to predict futures prices movements based on what happened three months ago is akin to driving down the highway looking only in the rearview mirror. It leaves investors eating the markets dust when the trend changes.”

And — There is no consistent correlation between upbeat earnings and an uptrend in stock prices; or vice a versa, downbeat earnings and a decline in stocks. Case in point: During the 1973-4 bear market, the S&P 500 plummeted 50% while S&P earnings rose every quarter over that period. Here, “Market Myths Exposed” provides the following, visual reinforcement: A chart of the S&P 500 versus S&P 500 Quarterly Earnings since 1998.

SP500 earnings News and Earnings Are Not What Moves Stocks

As you can see, the market enjoyed record quarterly earnings right alongside the historic, bear market turn in stocks in 2000. Then again, the first negative quarter ever in 2009 preceded the March 2009 bottom in stocks.

“Market Myths Exposed” dispels the top TEN fallacies of mainstream economic thought. The misconception that “Earnings Drive the Stock Market” is number one. The remaining nine are equally capable of knocking your socks off and most importantly, helping you protect your financial future.

Get the free 33-page Market Myths Exposed eBook now Learn why you should think independently rather than relying on misleading investment commentary and advice that passes as common wisdom. Just like the myth that government intervention can stop a stock market crash, Market Myths Exposed uncovers other important myths about diversifying your portfolio, the safety of your bank deposits, earnings reports, inflation and deflation, and more! Protect your financial future and change the way you view your investments forever!

EUR/USD: What Moves You?

It’s not the news that creates forex market trends –
it’s how traders interpret the news.

Today, the EUR/USD stands well below its November peak of $1.51. Find out what Elliott wave patterns are suggesting for the trend ahead now — FREE. You can access EWI’s intraday and end-of-day Forex forecasts right now through next Wednesday, February 10. This unique free opportunity only lasts a short time, so don’t delay! Learn more about EWIs FreeWeek here.

What moves currency markets? “The news” is how most forex traders would undoubtedly answer. Economic, political, you name it — events around the world are almost universally believed to shape trends in currencies.

A January 14 news story, for example, was high up on the roster of events that supposedly have a major impact on the euro-dollar exchange rate. That morning, the European Central Bank announced it was leaving the “interest rate unchanged at the record low of 1% for an eighth successive month.” (FT.com)

The euro fell against the U.S. dollar after the news. But could it have rallied instead? You bet. In fact, traditional forex analysis says it should have. Here’s why.

Analysts always say that the higher a country’s interest rates, the more attractive its assets are to foreign investors — and, in turn, the stronger its currency. Well, U.S. interest rates are now at 0-.25% and in Europe, at 1%, they are 3 to 4 times higher. Isn’t that wildly bullish for the EUR? Apparently not, and wait till you hear why — because in today’s announcement ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet warned that European recovery would be “bumpy.” Ha!

By no means is this the first time a supposedly bullish event failed to lift the market. On June 6, 2007, for example, the ECB raised interest rates. Bullish, right? But the euro didn’t gain that day, either — the U.S. dollar did.

Watch forex markets with these “inconsistencies” in mind and you’ll see them often. In time you realize that it’s not news that creates market trends — it’s how traders interpret the news. That’s a subtle — but hugely important — distinction.

So the real question becomes: What determines how traders interpret the news? The Elliott Wave Principle answers that question head-on: social mood — i.e., how they collectively feel. Currency traders in a bullish mood disregard bad news and buy, leaving it to analysts to “explain” why. Bearishly-biased traders find “reasons” to sell even after the rosiest of economic reports.

If you know traders’ bias, you know the trend. How do you know? Watch Elliott wave patterns in forex charts – it’s reflected in there, on all time frames.

Today, the EUR/USD stands well below its November peak of $1.51. Find out what Elliott wave patterns are suggesting for the trend ahead now — FREE. You can access EWI’s intraday and end-of-day Forex forecasts right now through next Wednesday, February 10. This unique free opportunity only lasts a short time, so don’t delay! Learn more about EWIs FreeWeek here.

 

Vadim Pokhlebkin joined Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave International in 1998. A Moscow, Russia, native, Vadim has a Bachelor’s in Business from Bryan College, where he got his first introduction to the ideas of free market and investors’ irrational collective behavior. Vadim’s articles focus on the application of the Wave Principle in real-time market trading, as well as on dispersing investment myths through understanding of what really drives people’s collective investment decisions.

EUR/USD: Often, Basic Elliott Wave Analysis Is All You Need

Watch this classic video from Elliott Wave International’s Chief Currency Strategist, Jim Martens, to see how useful the basics of Elliott wave analysis can be. Jim explains how the same basic pattern that R.N. Elliott discovered back in the 1930s is often all you need to make informed market forecasts.

Then access Jim Marten’s intraday and end-of-day Forex forecasts, completely free from Elliott Wave International. The independent market forecasting firm is offering free access (a $199 value) through February 10. Get your free Forex forecasts now.

EUR/USD: Often, Basic Elliott Wave Analysis Is All You Need

Watch this classic video from Elliott Wave International’s Chief Currency Strategist, Jim Martens, to see how useful the basics of Elliott wave analysis can be. Jim explains how the same basic pattern that R.N. Elliott discovered back in the 1930s is often all you need to make informed market forecasts.

Then access Jim Marten’s intraday and end-of-day Forex forecasts, completely free from Elliott Wave International. The independent market forecasting firm is offering free access (a $199 value) through February 10. Get your free Forex forecasts now.

Don’t stop here! Get Jim Marten’s intraday and end-of-day Forex forecasts FREE through February 10. Get your free Forex forecasts..

 

Bin Laden is dead, but stock market is down. Why?

Interest rates, oil prices, trade balances, corporate earnings and GDP: None of them seem to be important, or even relevant, to explaining stock price changes
May 3, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

On the morning of May 2, the financial headlines were abuzz with the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death and its positive impact on the stock market:

“Stock Market Celebrates Killing of Bin Laden” (The Wall Street Journal)

But despite a positive open, stocks closed lower on May 2. Undoubtedly, in the days ahead we’ll hear analysts explaining how Bin Laden’s death is not that “bullish” of an event, after all.

On that same note, MarketWatch.com ran an interesting story on May 2 that quoted from a research paper which found “little evidence that non-economics events have a big effect on the stock market.”

Here at EWI, we go one step further and say the following: Economic events have little impact on the stock market, too.

Don’t believe us? Read this excerpt from a free Club EWI resource, the 50-page 2011 Independent Investor eBook, and judge for yourself.

The Independent Investor eBook, 2011 Edition
(Excerpt; full report here)

…Economists’ Claim #5: “GDP drives stock prices.”

Suppose that you had perfect foreknowledge that over the next 3¾ years GDP would be positive every single quarter and that one of those quarters would surprise economists in being the strongest quarterly rise in a half-century span. Would you buy stocks?

If you had acted on such knowledge in March 1976, you would have owned stocks for four years in which the DJIA fell 22%. If at the end of Q1 1980 you figured out that the quarter would be negative and would be followed by yet another negative quarter, you would have sold out at the bottom.

Suppose you were to possess perfect knowledge that next quarter’s GDP will be the strongest rising quarter for a span of 15 years, guaranteed. Would you buy stocks?

Had you anticipated precisely this event for 4Q 1987, you would have owned stocks for the biggest stock market crash since 1929. GDP was positive every quarter for 20 straight quarters before the crash and for 10 quarters thereafter. But the market crashed anyway. Three years after the start of 4Q 1987, stock prices were still below their level of that time despite 30 uninterrupted quarters of rising GDP.

These two events are shown in the figure below:

gdpvsstocks News and Earnings Are Not What Moves Stocks

It seems that there is something wrong with the idea that investors rationally value stocks according to growth or contraction in GDP. …
Claim #6: “Wars are bullish/bearish for stock prices.” … (continued)

Keep reading the 50-page Independent Investor eBook now, free — all you need is a free Club EWI password. Get yours now to gain independent perspective to the financial markets.

DOW Jones Index Priced in Gold

DOW Priced in Gold: What Does It Mean for the Long-Term Trend?

Of the many forward-looking market indicators we at EWI employ, one of the most interesting tools (and least discussed in the financial media) is the DJIA priced in gold — “the real money,” as EWI’s president Robert Prechter calls it. What implications might the present position of Dow/gold have for the long-term trend of the nominal Dow? In this video, Elliott Wave International’s Steven Hochberg shows you several revealing charts that answer this question.

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Why You Should Care About DJIA Priced in Gold

By Vadim Pokhlebkin

The following article is provided courtesy of Elliott Wave International (EWI). For more insights that challenge conventional financial wisdom, download EWI’s free 118-page Independent Investor eBook.

Of the many forward looking market indicators we at EWI employ, one of the most interesting tools (and least discussed in the financial media) is the DJIA priced in gold — “the real money,” as EWI’s president Robert Prechter calls it.

We’ve been tracking the Dow/Gold ratio for many years and it has serves our subscribers well. It’s not a short-term timing tool, yet in the longer term, as our January 6 Short Term Update put it, “the nominal Dow eventually plays catch up to what is transpiring in the Dow/Gold ratio.”

Here’s a good example. Remember when the nominal DJIA hit its all-time high? October 2007, just above 14,000. At that time, most investors expected new highs still to come. But our Elliott Wave Financial Forecast warned five months prior, in May 2007:

dow priced in gold vs nominal djia DOW Jones Index Priced in Gold

One key reason [for a coming top in the DJIA] is the undeniable bear market status of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in terms of gold, the Real Dow…

Notice, by contrast, the relative strength of the Real Dow versus the nominal Dow, the index in terms of dollars, from 1980 to 1982. By August 1982 when the Dow denominated in dollars bottomed, the Real Dow was rising strongly from its 1980 low… The nominal Dow soon played catch-up, and they both rallied more or less in sync until 1999.

Now, instead of soaring the Real Dow is crashing relative to the nominal Dow. In fact, it’s barely off its low of May 2006. This dichotomy reveals the weakness that underlies the financial markets’ push higher. When mood turns and credit inflation reverses, the ensuing drop in the nominal value of the market should be dramatic.

“Dramatic drop” did indeed follow: Between October 2007 and March 2009, the DJIA lost 53%, high to low.

For more information, download Robert Prechter’s free Independent Investor eBook. The 118-page resource teaches investors to think independently by challenging conventional financial market assumptions.

 

Vadim Pokhlebkin joined Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave International in 1998. A Moscow, Russia, native, Vadim has a Bachelor’s in Business from Bryan College, where he got his first introduction to the ideas of free market and investors’ irrational collective behavior. Vadim’s articles focus on the application of the Wave Principle in real-time market trading, as well as on dispersing investment myths through understanding of what really drives people’s collective investment decisions.

Extreme Sentiment Signal Stock Market Top

EXTREME SENTIMENT SIGNALS TREND CHANGE

In March 2009, stock prices were at a 12-year low, and the Dow Industrials were down 54% from the 2007 peak.

You’d have needed to search far and wide to find someone calling for a rebound. Most investors feared that more of the same was ahead for stocks.

But on the very day the Dow hit the 6,547 price low (March 9, 2009), a Wall Street Journal headline read:

Dow 5000? There’s a Case for It

At the time, a closely watched sentiment index had also reached an all-time low at 2% bulls.

Even so: Just days before stocks bottomed, Bob Prechter said this to subscribers:

I recommend covering our short position at today’s close. … Probabilities for further decline immediately ahead have shifted. … The market is compressed, and when it finds a bottom and rallies, it will be sharp and scary for anyone who is short.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, February 2009

Indeed, the market did rally. Granted, the duration of the uptrend has lasted longer than anticipated. Yet that has led to extreme investor complacency. Look at this chart from the Jan. 23 Financial Forecast Short Term Update (labels removed):

VIX012313%5B1%5D Extreme Sentiment Signal Stock Market Top

As you probably know, the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, is a measure of investor fear (or the lack thereof). You can see on the chart how fearful investors were at the end of 2008 and leading up to the March 2009 low. That’s a stark contrast to the lack of fear you see above. Investors are as comfortable with stocks as they were around the Dow’s 2007 all-time high.

A recent headline, quoting the head of JPMorgan Chase, is indicative of the broadly optimistic sentiment.

US Stocks At ‘Very Good Prices’ -CNBC, Jan. 24

Is this the time to tap into the current uptrend, or should you separate yourself from the crowd in anticipation of a turn? Well, the Jan. 23 Short Term Update referenced the strong emotions that attend the end of long market trends and then noted:

It’s difficult to lean against the crowd and doing so doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be right. There are never guarantees. But the odds are in your favor.

Please know that EWI does not recommend defying the crowd for its own sake. To be sure, a contrarian can get trampled during the strongest parts of bull markets, or mauled during the worst part of bear markets.

A prudent investor looks at the best available evidence before deciding how, when and if to act.

Be assured, dear reader: Your risk-free review will likely be one of the most important investments you make at this juncture.

To that end, EWI offers you a no-obligation education in Elliott Wave analysis. See below for details.

2606 CG Club 2 Extreme Sentiment Signal Stock Market Top Learn the Why, What and How of Elliott Wave Analysis

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How to Spot a Stock Market Top

Back in March 2007, Robert Prechter recommended to short stocks. Fast forward to March 2009, he recommended to cover the short for a 800 point gain on S&P 500 and he predicted a rally that would take S&P 500 to 1100. As the rally matured, he started to get bearish again. But in April, he explained how all technical indicators were lined up on the sell side. Exact opposite of March 2009. Here is how the bullish media ridiculed him:

April 8, 2010: Prechter on Fast Money Show
Bulls don’t let Prechter speak! And that’s a sell signal!

Prechter Called the Uptrend ‘Out’ in April – June 9, 2010

By Elliott Wave International

Even non-sports fans have heard by now about the recent debacle known as Baseballgate.

With two outs in the ninth inning, a first-base umpire called “SAFE” when the runner was clearly “OUT.” But this was no ordinary missed call; it cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

And as the blogosphere flooded with memories of other historic slip-ups that cost “so and so” star “this and that” honor. Demands for the commissioner of baseball to reverse the bad call grew louder by the hour.

It was indeed a very bad call. But the biggest, baddest call of all was not made on a sports field. It was made in the field of finance — specifically on the stock market. To wit: The mainstream umpires of finance stood near first base, and in April made this emphatic call for the uptrend in stocks:

SAFE!!

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In case you missed the event, here’s an instant replay:

  • “Stocks Remain In A Powerful Bull Market.” (April 10 Bloomberg)
  • “Stocks Haven’t Lost Their Appeal As The Market Goes Up, Up, And Away.” (April 21 US News & World Report)
  • “You can use any number of words to describe this bull market. Frothy is not one of them. This market is reasonably priced.” (April 21 AP)
  • “US Stocks Post Longest Winning Streak Since 2004. The recovery should be sustainable and that will drive the market.” (April 24 Bloomberg)
  • “All the economic reports are pointing up… despite lingering worries over debt problems in Greece. Right now, there is virtually no evidence of a top.” (April 30 USA Today)

Yet from its April 26 peak, the DJIA turned down in a jaw-dropping 1000-plus point selloff. The market suffered its worst May since 1940.

The markets have no commissioner to reverse the bad call of the financial mainstream. But at least one team of analysts remained ahead of the most game-changing moves in the world’s leading stock market, including a forecast that called the rally “OUT” in April 2010. Consider the following insight from EWI President Robert Prechter:

On April 16, Prechter published his April Elliott Wave Theorist titled “Deadly Bearish Picture.” Notice the dates.

We can project a top…between April 15 and May 7, 2010. It is rare to have technical indicators all lined up on one side of the ledger. They were lined up this way — on the bullish side — in late February-early March of 2009. Today, they are just as aligned, but on the bearish side.”

TradingStocks.net published Prechter’s Deadly Bearish call for Stock Market Crash on April 29.

April 26 marks the high for the DJIA, followed by the devastating drop on May 7 — exactly within the date range Prechter’s forecast called for.

Call Your Own Shots — Remove Dangerous Mainstream Assumptions from Your Investment Process. Elliott Wave International’s FREE, 118-page Independent Investor eBook shows you exactly what moves markets and what doesn’t. You might be surprised to discover it’s not the Fed or “surprise” news events. Click here to learn more and download your free, 118-page ebook.

A record of spotting major market turns most investors miss

Elliott Wave International is dedicated to helping subscribers anticipate the next major market turn. No, we don’t always “get it right” – yet the examples below speak for themselves.

1. In 2005, EWI called the 2006 real estate turn.

  • Some say real estate can’t go down because far too many people are concerned about a real estate bubble, a worry that is now even greater than it was for stocks at the March 2000 NASDAQ peak … it is actually another sign of a top when participants are dismissive of the warnings.

The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, July 2005

 

  • House prices peaked in July 2006. By April 2012, the Associated Press reported, “Home prices have fallen 35% since the housing bust.”

 

2. In 2007, EWI called the stock market turn.

  • Aggressive speculators should return to a fully leveraged short position now. We may be early by a couple of weeks, but the market has traced out the minimum expected rise, and that’s enough to act upon.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, Interim Report, July 17, 2007

 

  • Those aggressive speculators were rewarded. From an Oct. 9, 2007, high of 14,164, the Dow Industrials tumbled to 6,547 by March 9, 2009.

 

3. In 2008, EWI called the crude oil turn.

Less than six weeks before the $147 high in the price of oil, the June 2008 Financial Forecast observed that “The case for an end in oil’s rise is growing even stronger.” The chart below was published in that issue:

Gushertopinoil Extreme Sentiment Signal Stock Market Top

Note that the sentiment index on the chart shows bullish sentiment reaching 90%.

By December 2008, the price of oil had declined 80%.

4. In 2011, EWI called the retracement high in the CRB Index.

  • The CRB index has reached the upper end of its corrective-wave trend channel while simultaneously reaching a Fibonacci 50% (1/2) retracement of the 2008-2009 decline, as it completes an A-B-C rally. This index should soon begin another wave down that takes it below the 2009 low.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, January 2011

  • The CRB index topped less than four months later.

5. In 2012, EWI called the turn in gas prices.

  • The rush to extrapolate [rising prices] is all we need to conclude that the odds of … gasoline prices going to the moon are extremely low.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, April 2012

  • Gasoline prices topped during the same month that issue published.

6. In 2009, EWI called the turn in stocks.

  • The majority of investors thought that the period from October 10 to year-end 2008 was a major market bottom. But over the past four monthsThe Elliott Wave Theorist, The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast and the Short Term Update have repeatedly stated, without equivocation, that the market required a fifth wave down. There were no alternate counts. The Wave Principle virtually guaranteed lower lows, and now we have them.
  • I recommend covering our short position at today’s close.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, Special Investment Issue, Feb. 23, 2009

  • The Dow Industrials hit a major low just 10 days later!

7. In 2012, EWI called the trend change in bond yields.

  • Investors’ waxing fears will cause them to start selling bonds, which will lead to lower bond prices and higher yields. ….
  • If rates do begin to rise as we expect, most observers will probably be fooled.

The Elliott Wave Theorist and Financial Forecast, Special Report, June 2012

  • On July 5, 10-year bond yields climbed to 2.72%, its highest level since July 2011.

In each of these forecasts, the consensus opinion was on the opposite side. Most investors never saw these major trend changes coming. Again, we’re not perfect — no forecasting service is.

Come see what we see.

 

 

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You’ll get some of the most groundbreaking and eye-opening reports ever published in Elliott Wave International’s 30-year history; you’ll also get new analysis, forecasts and commentary to help you think independently in today’s tumultuous market.

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Stock Market Bottom Call – February 2009

Stock Market Top Call – October 2007

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circlelogo long spot Extreme Sentiment Signal Stock Market Top

Declining Volume Spells Trouble

Declining Volume Signals Market Trouble

The three-and-a-half-year rally has occurred on declining volume

What a comeback for the Dow Industrials! From a March 9, 2009, close of 6,547, the senior index climbed to 13,610 on Oct. 5, 2012. Moreover, the Dow achieved this feat in the face of a weak-kneed economy, and it has grinded forward now for three and a half years. The persistent rise has emboldened stock market prognosticators.

S&P Could Still Hit 1,600 Year-End
–CNBC, Oct. 23

All the while, fewer and fewer investors have been participating in the so-called recovery.

Take a look at the chart below from the just-published October 2012 special videoElliott Wave Theorist, and then read Prechter’s commentary.

Correctivewavedecliningvolume Declining Volume Spells Trouble

People have started ignoring volume because bears have been talking about declining volume ever since 2010. But it is extremely important. Volume overall has been shrinking ever since the market’s low of March 2009. This line that I’ve drawn tracks the volume on the rising portions of the rally from 2009. Every time the market gets hit very hard-such as in the collapse of 2008, the “flash crash” of May 2010 and the market plunge in August last year-volume picks up.

This is not a picture of a bull market. In a bull market, the opposite happens. Volume should be going up during the entire period, and it should be declining every time the market corrects. But we’re getting exactly the opposite situation.

The Elliott Wave Theorist, October 2012

Volume is an important momentum indicator that many overlook. It’s time to start looking at your investments independently. EWI is here to help.


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Stock Market Crash – How Low Can it Go?

The stock market had ups and downs but over all we did fairly well. Unemployment remains stubbornly high but bonds and equities and recently housing had price gains. At least that has been the story of the last two years even though Asia and European markets have topped and have been declining since 2010 and 2011. On the pages we have been saying 2009 was not a major stock market bottom. There are various reasons for these predictions. But for our stock market forecastwe rely on technical indicators and elliott waves to gauge market sentiment, longer and shorter term market trends. Let us explain the point from the perspective of Elliott Wave Theory.

How low could it go? Third waves are “wonders to behold”

Financial markets always have and always will pose two basic questions that investors seek to answer:

  • What’s the direction of the main trend? How can we identify the market trend?
  • How far will it go? How can we anticipate the turning points before they happen?

Systematic approaches to these questions commonly belong to either fundamental or technical analysis. Let’s consider each one briefly.

Fundamental analysis studies how a market behaves in response to external influences such as earnings, sales, competitive outlook, economic outlook and the like.

Technical analysis studies a market’s internal behavior — mainly price, but also internal measures like volume.

Elliott wave analysis is a branch of technical analysis, specifically pattern recognition.

In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott discovered that stock market prices trend and reverse in recognizable patterns…Elliott isolated five such patterns, or “waves,” that recur in market price data.

Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior (p. 19)

In a five-wave progression, the third wave is the most powerful.

Third waves unfold in bull and bear markets alike. Elliott Wave Principle (p. 80) describes a third wave in a bull market:

  • Third waves are wonders to behold. They are strong and broad, and the trend at this point is unmistakable…Third waves usually generate the greatest volume and price movement and are most often the extended wave in a series. It follows, of course, that the third wave of a third wave, and so on, will be the most volatile point of strength in any wave sequence.

Third waves can be more powerful during market declines because fear is a stronger emotion than greed.

Look at the third wave on this S&P 500 chart which published in the January 2009 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. Notice that prices dropped like a rock, plunging well over 600 points in less than a year. (The third wave starts where the chart shows (2) and ends at (3)):

droplikearock Stock Market Crash   How Low Can it Go?

You can see on the chart that the S&P 500 had rebounded after the third wave had bottomed. Even so, the chart’s title states that there was “Room for a New Low.” Indeed, after the rebound which was wave (4), wave (5) took prices to a March 6, 2009 intraday low of 666.79.

How about now?

That depends on who you ask.

On July 10, CNBC reported on the sentiment of a chief market strategist of a capital management firm:

  • Ever the optimist, he is holding to his market call this year for the S&P 500 to hit 1,500.

A principal of a financial advisory firm and guest columnist for Marketwatch wrote a July 10 article titled “Stock charts don’t lie: the trend is up.” The article says:

  • Shares continue their winning ways, technically. The averages show a stair-step series of higher highs and higher lows, the definition of an uptrend.

By contrast, the latest Financial Forecast flat out says:

  • The stock market is nowhere near a lasting low.

Why does the Financial Forecast differ from the two opinions above?

Because Elliott analysts know that during a market downtrend, second waves can convince investors that the rally is a new bull market.

That can be a financially dangerous mind-set.

Optimism precedes third waves lower. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a third wave can commence with unrelenting violence and speed.

In the chart above, you saw the optimism-driven rebound just before prices plunged.

Do not expect the financial media to provide you with advance warning of a third wave. The crowd is almost always on the wrong side of the market. Third waves arrive unannounced.

 

ElliottWaveCrashCourse2 Stock Market Crash   How Low Can it Go?

Elliot Wave Principle – Learn How to Spot Third Waves – FREE!

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You’ll get the Why, What, and How of Elliott Wave Analysis:

  • · Video 1: Why Yo Should Use the Wave Principle – a comprehensive look at what the financial media say drives the markets and why their “fundamentals” are usually wrong.
  • · Video 2: What is the Wave Principle About – explains in vivid detail the recurring “motive” and “corrective” patterns R. N. Elliott discovered in the DJIA in 1938.
  • · Video 3: How to Trade the Wave Principle – real charts and strategies for position management, such as entry, stop, target and risk/reward assessment.

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Is Lower Trade Deficit Bullish for the Market

US trade deficit is lower for the past year and the government is trying hard to further lower it. Deficit cannot be maintained forever so we have to do something about it and the government is motivated. It makes sense to have a balanced trade for the overall economy. But is that something to celebrate for the stock market? Do the stocks go up when there is less deficit?

Is Lower Trade Deficit Bullish For the Stock Market?

U.S. trade gap narrowed in April, and many will see that as a bullish sign

This Chart Provides Answers

  • “The Dow rose nearly 1 percent Thursday… Investors were encouraged by a report that the United States trade deficit had narrowed, one positive point in a recent string of weak economic data.” (June 9, 2011, Reuters)

Before you join the crowd in thinking that shrinking trade gap is bullish for stocks, read this excerpt from the 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook.

*****

Over the past 30 years, hundreds of articles — you can find them on the web — have featured comments from economists about the worrisome nature of the U.S. trade deficit. It seems to be a reasonable thing to worry about. But has it been correct to assume throughout this time that an expanding trade deficit impacts the economy negatively? Figure 8 answers this question in the negative.

trade deficit dow chart Is Lower Trade Deficit Bullish for the Market

In fact, had these economists reversed their statements and expressed relief whenever the trade deficit began to expand and concern whenever it began to shrink, they would have accurately negotiated the ups and downs of the stock market and the economy over the past 35 years. The relationship, if there is one, is precisely the opposite of the one they believe is there. Over the span of these data, there in fact has been a positive — not negative — correlation between the stock market and the trade deficit.

It is no good saying, “Well, it will bring on a problem eventually.” Anyone who can see the relationship shown in the data would be far more successful saying that once the trade deficit starts shrinking, it will bring on a problem. Whether or not you assume that these data indicate a causal relationship between economic health and the trade deficit, it is clear that the “reasonable” assumption upon which most economists have relied throughout this time is 100% wrong.

Around 1998, articles began quoting a minority of economists who — probably after looking at a graph such as Figure 8 — started arguing the opposite claim. Fitting all our examples so far, they were easily able to reverse the exogenous-cause argument and have it still sound sensible. It goes like this: In the past 30 years, when the U.S. economy has expanded, consumers have used their money and debt to purchase goods from overseas in greater quantity than foreigners were purchasing goods from U.S. producers. Prosperity brings more spending, and recession brings less. So a rising U.S. economy coincides with a rising trade deficit, and vice versa. Sounds reasonable!

But once again there is a subtle problem. If you examine the graph closely, you will see that peaks in the trade deficit preceded recessions in every case, sometimes by years, so one cannot blame recessions for a decline in the deficit. Something is still wrong with the conventional style of reasoning.

*****

Read the expanded, 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook.

All you need is to create a free Club EWI profile. Here’s what else you’ll learn:

  • · Why QE2 was a major tactical error
  • · Why interest rates don’t drive stock prices.
  • · Why rising oil prices are not bearish for stocks.
  • · Why earnings don’t drive stock prices.
  • · What inflation has to do with the prices of gold and silver
  • · Why central banks don’t control the markets.
  • · Much more — 51 pages in all

 

 

Does Diversification Work?

Why Diversification Does Not Work in Today’s Market

Prechter and Kendall’s “All the Same Market” Analysis Shows how Diversification Can’t Protect You from Correlated Risk

A dear friend of mine wants to celebrate an important health milestone by going skydiving with friends. She feels happy and healthy and excited. She wants to do something very thrilling to celebrate.

I’m going to help my friend celebrate, by way of something very mundane: I intend to photograph the event from the ground. Of course I’m excited to be there, and I understand my friend’s motivation — it’s just that I am not a thrill seeker (especially when it comes to heights)!

Similarly, I don’t take big risks with my investments. I’m sure it’s a thrill to make a million, but the risk of losing all my capital is too terrifying for me to stomach.

When I started to research my investment choices, the idea of “portfolio diversification” made a lot of sense to me. All of the “experts” said it’s the key to reducing risk. It seemed safe in the same way that ropes and pulleys could really help a novice enjoy rock climbing or the trapeze.

But then I came across this gem of investing wisdom, written in terms that I understood on a visceral level:

Recommending diversification so that novices can reduce risk is like recommending that novice skydivers strap a pillow to their backsides to “reduce risk.” Wouldn’t it be more helpful to advise them to avoid skydiving until they have learned all about it? Novices should not be investing; they should be saving, which means acting to protect their principal, not to generate a return when they don’t know how. [The Elliott Wave Theorist (April 29, 1994)]

I can appreciate the metaphor. What fascinates me even more is how this contrary view of diversification is magnified when you consider how markets can correlate.

In Conquer the Crash, Robert Prechter and Pete Kendall first put forth their “All the Same Market” hypothesis, stating that in the Great Asset Mania and its bear market aftermath, all markets “move up and down more or less together as liquidity expands and contracts.”

Consider, for instance, the tried and increasingly debilitating strategy of diversification. With the market smash extending across every investment front but cash, one might think that this concept would at least be challenged by now. But it remains a virtually uncontested truism among market advisors and their followers. [The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast (Oct 31, 2008)]

The first edition of Conquer the Crash published in 2002; since then, our analysts have produced a multitude of chart-based evidence to demonstrate the coordinated trends across diverse financial markets.

Ready to turn in your pillow?

Anyone interested in making informed financial decisions can benefit from our newly available “Death to Diversification” e-book. which explains more about how you can avoid the false security of a diversified portfolio.

We are proud to offer you this FREE e-book: You can see for yourself the kind of analysis our subscribers have received and used for over 30 years.

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It Can be Dangerous to Diversify

Despite near-unanimous endorsement among mainstream advisors, the strategy of portfolio diversification has a huge, glaring flaw: Namely, when large sums of liquidity begin to flow into global investment markets, formerly disparate trends become strongly correlated. And markets that go up together ultimately go down together; in turn, the value of diversified portfolios goes down with them.

For years now, Wall Street has tap-danced around the liquidity risk. Here’s how former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince described it in July 2007:

When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.

Three months later, Prince announced that Citigroup’s quarterly earnings would be down 60%. Within the year, Prince had danced himself out of a job. Diversified investors around the world were feeling the liquidity crunch.

But after many miserable months for stock and commodity investors, the markets rebounded together – almost in lock-step. Commodities lifted off in late 2008, and stocks followed in March 2009. Everything that declined together was going up together, and market watchers began to take notice.

Liquidity with respect to stocks has become indiscriminate,” reported a widely respected market technician. “When money’s flowing in, they all go up. When money’s flowing out, they all go down.”

Mainstream investors finally began to recognize the phenomenon Elliott Wave International’s Robert Prechter warned about in his 2002 best-seller,Conquer the Crash.

Turns out, now almost 10 years after Prechter coined the phenomenon “All The Same Markets,” the correlation is still positive. Unfortunately for millions of diversified investors, the outlook is not.

According to a new report authored by Prechter and his EWI colleagues, the second round of liquidity crisis is fast approaching and perhaps has already begun. If you invest your money in a diversified portfolio, it’s time you read this incredible new report now.

Download this special free report, Death to Diversification – What it Means for Your Investment Strategy

The common financial wisdom we hear every day in the media and through our financial advisors is that we need to diversify our investments. The reasons for doing so can be elaborated but it boils down to one thing: You diversify because you have no clue about where the economy is going!

The Case Against Diversification

Just because investment banks and stock brokerages say you should diversify doesn’t make it true.

Talk with an investment advisor, and what’s the first piece of advice you will hear? Diversify your portfolio. The case for diversification is repeated so often that it’s come to be thought of as an indisputable rule. Hardly anyone makes the case against diversifying your portfolio. But because we believe that too much liquidity has made all markets act similar to one another, we make that case. Heresy? Not at all. Just because investment banks and stock brokerages say you should diversify doesn’t make it true. After all, their analysts nearly always say that the markets look bullish and that people should buy more now. For a breath of fresh air on this subject, read what Bob Prechter thinks about diversification.

Should you or should you not diversify?

Excerpt taken from Prechter’s Perspective, originally published 2002, re-published 2004

Question: In recent years, mainstream experts have made the ideas of “buy and hold” and diversification almost synonymous with investing. What about diversification? Now it is nearly universally held that risk is reduced through acquisition of a broad-based portfolio of any imaginable investment category. Where do you stand on this idea?

Bob Prechter: Diversification for its own sake means you don’t know what you’re doing. If that is true, you might as well hold Treasury bills or a savings account. My opinion on this question is black and white, because the whole purpose of being a market speculator is to identify trends and make money with them. The proper approach is to take everything you can out of anticipated trends, using indicators that help you do that. Those times you make a mistake will be made up many times over by the successful investments you make. Some people say that is the purpose of diversification, that the winners will overcome the losers. But that stance requires the opinion that most investment vehicles ultimately go up from any entry point. That is not true, and is an opinion typically held late in a period when it has been true. So ironically, poor timing is often the thing that kills people who claim to ignore timing.

Sometimes the correct approach will lead to a diversified portfolio. There are times I have been long U.S. stocks, short bonds, short the Nikkei, and long something else. Other times, I’ve kept a very concentrated market position. My advice from mid-1984 to October 2, 1987, for instance, was to remain 100% invested in the U.S. stock market. During the bull market, I raised the stop-loss at each point along the wave structure where I could identify definite points of support. If I was wrong, investors would have been out of their positions. The potential was five times greater on the upside than the risk was on the downside, and five times greater in the stock market than any other area. Twice recently, in 1993 and 1995, I have had big positions in precious metals mining stocks when they appeared to me to be the only game in town. In 1993, it worked great, and they gained 100% in ten months. Diversification would have eliminated the profit. And every so often, an across-the-board deflation smashes all investments at once, and the person who has all his eggs in one basket, in this case cash, stays whole while everyone else gets killed.

– – – –

Excerpt from The Elliott Wave Theorist, April 29, 1994

It is repeated daily that “global diversification” is self evidently an intelligent approach to investing. In brief, goes the line, an investor should not restrict himself to domestic stocks and bonds but also buy stocks and bonds of as many other countries as possible to “spread the risk” and ensure safety. Diversification is a tactic always touted at the end of global bull markets. Without years of a bull market to provide psychological comfort, this apparently self evident truth would not even be considered. No one was making this case at the 1974 low. During the craze for collectible coins, were you helped in owning rare coins of England, Spain, Japan and Malaysia? Or were you that much more hopelessly stuck when the bear market hit?

The Elliott Wave Theorist’s position has been that successful investing requires one thing: anticipating successful investments, which requires that one must have a method of choosing them. Sometimes that means holding many investments, sometimes few. Recommending diversification so that novices can reduce risk is like recommending that novice skydivers strap a pillow to their backsides to “reduce risk.” Wouldn’t it be more helpful to advise them to avoid skydiving until they have learned all about it? Novices should not be investing; they should be saving, which means acting to protect their principal, not to generate a return when they don’t know how.

For the knowledgeable investor, diversification for its own sake merely reduces profits. Therefore, anyone championing investment diversification for the sake of safety and no other reason has no method for choosing investments, no method of forming a market opinion, and should not be in the money management business. Ironically yet necessarily given today’s conviction about diversification, the deflationary trend that will soon become monolithic will devastate nearly all financial assets except cash. If you want to diversify, buy some 6-month Treasury bills along with your 3-month ones.

Want More Reasons Why Diversification Should be Diverted from your Portfolio? Get our FREE report that explains the holes in the diversification argument. All you have to do is sign up as one of our Club EWI members. It’s free, and it will give you access to more than this diversification report. –Follow this link to instantly download this special free report, Death to Diversification What it Means for Your Investment Strategy.

Investors Jump Into The Fire – Junk Bonds

bond disaster banner Investors Jump Into The Fire   Junk Bonds

I spent my childhood discussing the stock market at the dinner table. My dad was a stock broker, and he loved to “tell the story” of the stocks he recommended to the customers – a story that included critical information about macro economics, the industry, the products, earnings, and the outlook for the future. Most children might find it dull, but I liked it.

As I got older and debated with friends about investing, I’d light up when the topic was stocks. Who in the world wouldn’t get excited about financial analysis to decide which company could make you money! When the conversation turned to bonds, however, I would shut down. Bonds? How dull; how utterly boring. There’s no story to tell, no industry trends to follow. I saw bonds as an interest check every six months, then a return of principal when they mature. I thought bonds were boring.

Over the past few years, I’ve read many articles about investors getting out of the stock market in favor of bonds. I understood the reasons for getting out of the stock market, but the thought of moving into bonds baffled me. Interest rates were very low, and I knew that when the rates started going up, bond prices would go down; a simple inverse relationship. I started investing in the mid-80s, when rates were at the highest point of the past 50 years — who would buy bonds now, when yields are at the lowest levels in half a century? There’s no place for your principal to go but down, I thought.

So I went back and talked with my friends some more, to see if there was something I was missing with these “boring investments.”

Turned out, my friends had moved their nest egg into bonds after they lost over 30% of their money in stocks during the crash of 2008. They told me that bonds had gone up in value. I was surprised.

So I started looking into it. They were right! I thought bond yields could go no lower than they were two years ago, yet they did, In turn, that brought the prices – i.e., the principal on their investment – up!

I asked what kind of bonds they got into. “High-yield bond funds” they said. What kind of bonds are these funds invested in? To this question I got blank stares. How long do you plan on staying in these funds? This got the reply I was afraid I’d hear: “Why would we get out when they are so much safer than stocks?” That’s when my new interest in these once boring investments turned into fear – for my friends.

First of all, the simple idea that a rise in interest rates would cause their principal to fall worried me. But my greater fear was that they did not even know what types of bonds they were invested in!

Elliott Wave International’s president Robert Prechter has followed this new investment trend closely in his monthly Elliott Wave Theorist. This quote is from the October 2010 issue:

  • A fifth consecutive major disaster is developing for investors. History shows that investors have been attracted like moths to a flame: the NASDAQ in 2000, real estate in 2006, the blue chips in 2007 and commodities in 2008. Now they are flitting across the veranda to a mesmerizing blue flame: high yield bonds.
  • Bonds pay high yields when the issuers are in deep trouble and cannot otherwise attract investment capital. The public is chasing a large return on capital without considering return of it.

Discover why Prechter says that, “The public always does the wrong thing.” Access this free online report now.

You can learn more about what Prechter’s market analysis says for bond investors now – for free. We’ve recently released a 10-page report, “The Next Major Disaster Developing for Bond Holders” free to members of Club EWI.

The Muni Bond Crisis Is Here – Crash has started

Elliott wave subscribers were prepared for municipal bonds troubles months in advance
November 24, 2010

By Elliott Wave International

This November, the whole world tuned in as the greater part of the U.S.A.’s 50 states turned red — and no, I don’t mean the political shift to a republican majority during the November 2 mid-term elections. I mean “in the red” — as in, financially fercockt, overdrawn, up to their eyeballs in debt.

Here are the latest stats: California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey now suffer “Greek-like deficits,” alongside draconian budget cuts, job furloughs, suspensions of city services, and the growing “rent-a-cop” trend of firing city workers and then hiring outside contractors to fill those positions.

Next is the fact that the municipal bond market has been melting like a snow cone in the Sahara desert. According to recent data, 35 muni bond issues totaling $1.5 billion have defaulted since January 2010, three times the average annualized rate going back to 1983. Also, in the week ending November 19, investors withdrew a record $3.1 billion from mutual and exchange-traded funds specializing in municipal debt, triggering the largest one-day rise in yields since the panic of ’08.

In the words of a recent LA Times article “It’s a cold, cold world in the municipal bond market right now.”

And for those who never saw the muni bond crisis coming, it’s a lot colder.

Since at least 2008, the mainstream experts extolled munis for their “safe haven resistance to recession.” And while muni bond woes are only now making headlines, one of the few sources that foresaw the depth and degree of the crisis coming ahead of time was Elliott Wave International’s team of analysts. Here’s an excerpt from the April 2008 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast (EWFF):

“One of the most vulnerable sectors of the debt markets is the municipal bond market. Instead of being a source of state and local funding, many residents will become a cost. Default could hit at any moment after times get difficult… Yields on tax-exempt municipal bonds are above yields on US Treasuries for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, another sign of how limited the supply of quality bonds will become.”

EWI continued to warn subscribers ever since:

  • February 2009 EWFF: Special section “Out of the Frying Pan and into Munis” showed the continued rise in muni yields ABOVE Treasury yields and cautioned against the idea that tax-exempt debt was a “safe bet.”
  • September 2010 Elliott Wave Theorist: “The Next Disaster: The public has withdrawn some money from stock mutual funds… But most investors … are shunning treasuries for high-yield money market funds and bond funds, which hold less-than-pristine corporate and municipal debt.”

And now, in the just-published November 19 Elliott Wave Theorist, EWI president Robert Prechter captures the full extent of the unfolding muni crisis via the following price chart:

disaster underway Investors Jump Into The Fire   Junk Bonds

Read more about Robert Prechter’s warnings for holders of municipals and other bonds in his free report: The Next Major Disaster Developing for Bond Holders. Access your 10-page free report now.

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline United STRAITS of America: The Muni Bond Crisis Is Here. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Individual Investors Have Jumped Into Another Fire

December 18, 2009

By Robert Prechter, CMT

The following article is an excerpt from Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave Theorist.

First they bought into the “stocks for the long run” case and got killed. Then they jumped on the commodity bandwagon and got killed. Many investors are buying back into these very same markets, but others are running to what they perceive as safe “yields” in the municipal bond market. So far this year, individual investors have “poured a record $55 billion” (Bloomberg, 11/12) into muni bond funds, with the pace running $2b. per week in August and September; many other investors are buying munis outright. These must be the people who tell us that they can’t live without “yield” and also cannot imagine their city, county or state government going bust. But as Conquer the Crash warned and as The Elliott Wave Theorist has reiterated, the muni bond market is heading for disaster.

Municipalities have borrowed more than they can repay, they have pension liabilities that they cannot meet (up to a trillion dollars’ worth, according to Moody’s), and tax receipts are falling. The only reason that states haven’t failed yet is the so-called “stimulus package,” which took money from savers, investors and taxpayers—thereby impoverishing the people who live in the various states—and gave it to state governments to spend so they would not have to cease their profligate spending. But political pressures will eventually cut off this gravy train. In the 2010-2017 period, the muni bond market will become awash in defaults. The leap in optimism since March, which has shown up in every financial market, has fueled a retreat in muni bond yields to their lowest level since 1967 and narrowed the spread between muni bond yields and Treasuries.

This rush to buy municipal bonds is occurring right on the cusp of a dramatic decline in their values. While many individuals are loading up right at the peak so they can participate in the next major market disaster, smarter investors, such as insurance companies Allstate and Guardian Life, are getting out. Subscribers to our services, we trust, own not a single municipal IOU. Our recommendation for investors is 100 percent safety, and such a program does not include muni bonds. If you are a recent subscriber, please read the second half of Conquer the Crash as a manual on how to get your finances safe.

Get Your FREE 8-Lesson “Conquer the Crash Collection” Now! You’ll get valuable lessons on what to do with your pension plan, what to do if you run a business, how to handle calling in loans and paying off debt and so much more. Learn more and get your free 8 lessons here.

 

Robert Prechter, Chartered Market Technician, is the founder and CEO of Elliott Wave International, author of Wall Street best-sellers Conquer the Crash and Elliott Wave Principle and editor of The Elliott Wave Theorist monthly market letter since 1979.