Calls For A Rising Market

Mark Hulbert wrote late last night:

Richard Band is not someone who makes outlandish predictions just to get headlines.

So I sat up and took notice earlier this week when he wrote to subscribers of his Profitable Investing newsletter that the stock market was ready to “rocket higher” in an “uptrend that could carry the blue chip indexes to all-time highs by late 2008 or early 2009. Dow 16,000 here we come!”

Morningstar wrote in its latest market outlook delivered yesterday: “If you compare stock prices to underlying business value, stocks are cheaper now than at any time since 2002.”

Last weekend’s Barron’s included a discussion with James Finucane, a 67-year-old stock strategist who worked for years at Stifel, Nicolaus in Chicago but now labors as a consultant in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Mr. Finucane specializes in calling market lows, and he believes we’re making one now. “In fact,” wrote Jonathan Laing, “he foresees an explosive rally, with the Dow rocketing to 18,000 to 20,000 within a year from its current 12,361. The climb, he says, might begin imminently or take a few months of backing and filling before the market takes off.”

Mr. Finucane says that “governments and central banks have a clear incentive to promote growth, so to bet on a prolonged slump is to bet against the government, markets and human nature.”

He’s further encouraged by the enormous build-up of cash on the sidelines. “Money-market cash, for example, has soared to $3.45 trillion, versus $2.2 trillion at the market low in March 2003,” wrote Mr. Laing. “And U.S. domestic equity funds have seen a record nine consecutive months of net outflows, a skein that probably will hit 10 months when the Investment Company Institute releases its February numbers. The previous record was eight months, following the 1987 stock-market crash.”

Act accordingly.

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