Saturday, January 6, 2007


As of Dec 2006, the US stock market has been in a bull rally for 3 years and 9 months. The talking heads, portfolio defenders, fund managers, and others can't help but be ecstatic as they trumpet their success. But none are talking about Historical Market/Stock Cycles.

These cycles, (market bottom-top-bottom again), average 53 months in length according to Martin Pring in his book The All-Season Investor. He also notes that these cycles can be altered by Federal Monetary Policy. If we use March 2003 as the start of the current bull cycle, then using his figures, we will have a new cycle beginning in Sep 2007 and would have had a market top in June 2005.

The present cycle has obviously been elongated for many reasons. Two I would like to mention, and not stated often enough: 1. The US Dollar is no longer the lone proxy currency anymore. 2. Emerging markets are almost done emerging. This present cycle, beyond Fed Policy, has been altered by forces beyond our border.

If one looks at the present Market Cycle, it would start out in 2003 at the bottom and begin an Economic Recovery. Consumer Expectations are revived, Industrials, Cyclicals are strong, the price and demand for Raw Materials is increasing, and Basic Industry is smoking. As the rising slope gets steeper we begin to see weakness in Real Estate. Sound Familiar? As we reach the top, Energy prices soar and continue to pace the market until the top begins to ease. In the rest of the model cycle, a decent begins that favors Consumer Staples, Services, Utilities, and Financials.

All this time the Fed worries about the upward pressure on wages, inflation, GDP, and what tie to wear at the next Senate Hearing. While the Fed wrestles with interest rates in light of the Dollar or in spite of the Dollar, Gold is watching this battle from the corner ready to strike at any time.

We are experiencing an extended creep to the market's top and we may be walking on a weakly cantilevered plank over the edge.

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