Back At Bottom Redux

Gee, seems like just last Thursday I was writing about the market being back at bottom. Oh, that’s right. It was. Well, we’re back there again.

I wrote to subscribers last Friday:

The S&P; 500 bounced solidly off the 850-ish level twice, the first time from Oct. 27’s close at 849 and the second time from Nov. 12’s close at 852. Its intraday lows:

840 on Oct. 10
845 on Oct. 28
819 on Nov. 13

Same story with the S&P; Midcap 400, at the 480-ish level. It bounced off Oct. 27’s close at 480 and Nov. 12’s close at 486. Its intraday lows:

480 on Oct. 27
473 on Oct. 28
468 on Nov. 13

Also the same with the Russell 2000 small cap index, at the 450-ish level. It bounced off Oct. 27’s close at 448 and Nov. 12’s close at 453. Its intraday lows:

442 on Oct. 28
433 on Nov. 13

So, the key levels to watch for the three indexes are 850 on the S&P; 500, 480 on the S&P; Midcap 400, and 450 on the Russell 2000. Here’s where they closed yesterday:

  • 851 for the S&P; 500
  • 490 for the S&P; Midcap 400
  • 451 for the Russell 2000

It’s like Hollywood wrote this nailbiter. Will the bottom hold again?

Here’s why we’d better hope it does: U.S. citizens need capital gains to fund their retirements. They don’t have support from companies or the government, as citizens in other countries have. That’s why such an enormous percentage of Americans are stock investors, whether they like it or not.

Guess how much Americans hoping to retire have made from stocks in the last ten years? Zippo. That’s about what their Social Security benefits are worth, too. Let’s see, no health care coverage, no retirement program, no public transportation worth a darn, no reasonable auto insurance plan, no college payment programs. Wonder why consumer sentiment is at all-time lows?

Here’s Ben Stein on what the lost decade on Wall Street means for once potential retirees:

The broad stock market is now at levels it hit roughly ten years ago on the Dow Jones Industrials Average and the S&P; 500. This means something horrifying. If there are to be no long-term gains in stocks, the retirement projections of almost everyone are simply demolished. Unless a pre-retiree is terribly lucky, he or she cannot count on meaningful gains in stocks. Obviously, the interest on bonds is modest and aside from Treasuries, they have been hit hard as well.

If workers can only rely on dividend and interest income and not on long-term capital gains of 8% or 9% per annum, pre-retirees have to save enormously more than they had anticipated to adequately fund their retirement. This is serious business.

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