Pick any Roland Emmerich disaster movie and randomly select a scene–that’s more or less what Robert Prechter, a market forecaster who was widely lauded as a technical analyst in the 1980s, says is coming to the Dow, writes the New York Times.
Buy-and-hold stock investors will be devastated in a crash much worse than the declines of 2008 and early 2009 or the worst years of the Great Depression or the Panic of 1873, he predicted.
For a rough parallel, he said, go all the way back to England and the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, a crash that deterred people “from buying stocks for 100 years,” he said. This time, he said, “If I’m right, it will be such a shock that people will be telling their grandkids many years from now, ‘Don’t touch stocks.’ ”
Prechter bases his doom and gloom on something called the Elliott Wave theory, which is based on the work of an accountant who discovered patterns in the stock market in the 1930s and ’40s. He’s used it to provide investing advice for decades now, and the paper says that since 1980, a portfolio based on his advice “has slightly underperformed the overall stock market but has been much less risky, losing money in only one calendar year.”
Now he’s saying that within the next 5 to 6 years, the Dow–currently over 9,000–will fall to less than 1,000.
The Times also talks to another analyst who recently moved his money out of stocks into cash, but who says he thinks that after a coming 10 to 15% drop, there should be another “meaningful rally.”
The “mathematics don’t work,” Mr. Acampora said, because such a big decline would imply that individual stocks would need to trade at unrealistically low levels. Furthermore, he said, “I don’t want to agree with him, because if he’s right, we’ve basically got to go to the mountains with a gun and some soup cans, because it’s all over.”
Still, on a “near-term” basis, he said, “We’re probably saying the same thing.”
“A Market Forecast That Says ‘Take Cover’” [New York Times]