Is it a bull market? Is it a bear market? Or is it some other stock market wiggle or waggle awaiting to be named after another of the veterans of Noah's ark?
I recently borrowed the word "muddle through" from business partner John Mauldin (Thoughts from the Frontline) to describe what would otherwise have been called a sideways market. So many Johns, so many terms: John Hussmann (Hussman Funds) highlights a number of phrases currently been bandied about by pundits to describe the market outlook: "looking across the valley", "last innings", "glass is half full" and "the Fed is on top of this". But, alas, these are often just guesses and mostly pretty useless in describing whether the stock market is going up, down or sideways.
It has become a national pastime to try to figure out where in the stock market cycle we are. Dear readers, this is where I am going to rely on your collective wisdom and ask you to express your opinion on the direction of the stock market. We will specifically focus on what is in store for the Dow Jones Industrial Index by considering two periods:
(1) from now until the close on June 30, 2008; and
(2) from now until the close on December, 31, 2008.
All you need to do is to think about this for a short while and provide your answers by clicking the appropriate button on each of the two poll images at the bottom of this post.
But let's make the poll even more interesting and throw out a challenge to good friend Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture) and his cohorts: Barry, please set up identical polls on your blog site and let's then measure whether, in the aggregate, The Big Picture fans or the Investment Postcards supporters rule the roost. There is $100 prize at stake in each of the two categories for the group (i.e. Big Picture or Investment Postcards) that nails the actual interval.
This prize money will be paid by Barry if the winner comes from the Investment Postcards team and by me, in the unlikely event of the Big Picture team claiming the spoils. The winning proceeds will be donated to a charity of the winner's choice. (Individual side bets are totally in order, but please then let us know about these by posting the details in the comments section on the respective blog sites.)
STOP PRESS: Barry has accepted the challenge and will put the details on The Big Picture site early next week.
Please share your thoughts on the direction of the stock market with other readers by clicking the appropriate buttons in each of the two polls below (and then start rigging the markets to give the required result!).
The polls will run until 17:00 EST on Friday, May 2, 2008.