I'll soon have an initial outlook for 2005 in place. However, one of the elements it will contain is the view that some of the bad things not happening to the equity market in 2004 have merely been postponed, not canceled. It is becoming easier to envision an early year 2005 sell-off that could be rather pronounced. Might someone be getting ready to front-run it?
At present, stocks are enjoying utter technical euphoria -- one suggesting that no problems of a serious magnitude are anywhere in sight.
But the problem with technical analysis in the current climate is pretty simple -- it doesn't work very well. Or, paradoxically, maybe it works too well, if you know what I mean.
Everyone has become a technician. When you consider what is now available in the way of charting software, it's awfully easy for everyone to be a technician. Which is somewhat humorous, since it was not too many years ago when the world at large felt about technicians the way it did and does feel about economists.
Some additional observations about the current state of TA awaits another time. The mission of this very brief missive is to opine -- invoking some of my real "old-days" technical measures, that the stock market appears to be in a major topping process, in preparation for a significant downturn.
There are only nine trading days left in 2004, and at least one of these will be substandard, considering that New Year's Eve is among the nine. Thus, the stock market sell-off that approaches will probably await 2005. (It certainly will, if CNBC and the other outlets in the regular propaganda loop have any over the situation.)
Then again, there is always someone out there who will front-run a coming shift in trend, if they perceive that one of those is on the way. And my strong hunch is there are enough people of this persuasion right now to make good on the phenomenon. Ironically, I think many of these folks are of the hot-money mold, the very same people who have been gunning the market since the election.
I probably wouldn't raise this topic now if the decline I was thinking about was likely to be a reasonably modest one, say, something in the 3% or even 5% range. But I think it will probably be something a good deal worse, something of the double-digit variety.
Its onset will likely await the flip of the calendar. Then, again, there is always someone out there who will pull the trigger a little early. Stay tuned!