Right-on speculator foresees market plunge

first_imgPaul Tudor Jones II leans back in his chair and grins. The stock market is going to crash, and he knows it. “There will be some type of a decline, without a question, in the next 10, 20 months,” he says in his rich Memphis drawl. “And it will be earth-shaking; it will be saber-rattling.” Coming from a financial speculator as prominent as Jones, a man with about $19 billion of short-term trading capital at his disposal, the words might be enough to send ripples through a stock market that, apparently defying logic, has been hitting new highs each day. Except that the crash to which Jones refers occurred Oct. 19, 1987. His prognostication – brazen, and as impudent as the man himself – was made in a documentary called “Trader,” which was filmed in the year preceding that day. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Now, 20 years after the 508-point decline, several strategists are anticipating that the Earth will shake again. Valuations are stretched beyond historical comparisons. The market, ever more volatile, is reaching new highs, ignoring a buildup of bad news. Most crucially, the strategists say, the sentiment that the market’s rise is infinite seems to have taken permanent hold. “The overvaluation of stocks is more extreme than the 1929 high,” said Robert R. Prechter Jr., an independent market forecaster in Gainesville, Ga., and a well-known follower of Elliott Wave theory, which examines the extent to which investor psychology creates stock market patterns. “Which tells me the next bear market will be the biggest in many years, probably since 1929-32.” At the end of the day Oct. 19, 1987, stocks were down 22 percent – precisely the “Acapulco cliff dive” predicted by Jones in the video. The day ruined the careers of many, but it made the reputations of Jones and Prechter, whose professional relationship dates to the mid-1980s. Now, Prechter is suggesting that the country is facing not just a market crash, but also a depression. On every measure, he says, the market is more overvalued than it was in 1987 before the reversal. The price-to-book ratio of the S&P 500-stock index today is 4.04, compared with 1.73 in 1987. And measures of the bullishness of Wall Street traders confirm Prechter’s assessment of the overvaluation. To be sure, the one feature of every long-running bull market is the small clutch of market pessimists whose clamor that the end is nigh seems to rise in pitch with each successive peak. But Prechter’s gloominess may resonate, especially in light of Jones’ high regard for him. “Prechter is the best because he is the ultimate market opportunist,” Jones said in the book “Market Wizards,” a collection of interviews with successful traders compiled by Jack D. Schwager. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read More