by David Haggith, The Great Recession Blog:
It’s not boasting to state plainly that you were right if you are equally direct about your errors. I have until now rightly predicted all of the stock market’s major downturns, starting with the one in 2007 that gave us the Great Recession. The first of those led to the writing of this blog. The next two were predicted and recorded as they happened on this blog, and the latest, whether it proves right or wrong, waits shortly in the future. Each time I made such a prediction here, I bet my blog on it. The blog is still here, but will it continue to be?
I am using the term “crash” loosely in this article because one time I clearly stated the impending plunge would not technically amount to a crash (a sudden drop of more than 20%) but it would be much more significant than just a correction (a decline of 10%) because of how drastically it would change the nature of the market. I’ll show here how it did. The next time, I predicted a “crash” that did not quite turn out as significant as I claimed it would be, but it was an historic event in that the Dow fell further in January than it had ever done in its entire history, and it did so exactly the timing (to the day) that I laid out in advance.
I let myself off easy on that one as being both a hit and a miss because, after all, getting timing of a major plunge right to the exact day as well as the counter-intuitive manner by which it would start on that day is not something one typically sees.
Now we are about to see whether I will survive the prediction I made many months ago for January 2018.
The ghost of crashes past
On September 3rd, 2014, I wrote an article titled “Will There be a 2014 Stock Market Crash?” In that article I predicted something big and wicked appeared to be coming right around the corner:
This [prediction] is coming from someone who has not been crying the sky is falling for some time….. I won’t go as far as I did with the housing market [back in ’07] by predicting a stock-market crash based on the evidence at the moment, but I will say it is looking like a significant risk this fall, should other events trigger panic in stock investors who know they are heavily leveraged and who know everyone else is, too.
That bet sounds a little hedged, but it was merely reiterating what I had predicted in the early spring of that year:
I’m not predicting economic collapse in 2014 any more than I did last year. Some well-known talking heads did for 2013, especially related to China, and I said they’d be wrong. Marc Faber, Nouriel Roubini, and Jim Rogers all predicted that 2013 would bring a great crash, and I said that I did not think that was likely. While I’m not forecasting calamity in my 2014 economic predictions, it certainly looks like a stormy fall ahead of us as these pressures start to build against the global economy. (“Strong Headwinds Face Global Economy“)
In keeping with that earlier prediction, I concluded my September update for the rapidly approaching autumn months as follows:
I avoid sensationalism or market pessimism, but unlike bullish market optimists I will predict doom when doom really is on the horizon, but not before. I would move the needle on my gauge that monitors the likelihood of an economic crash this year from yellow to solidly orange where I predicted in the spring that it would be come fall.…
The sad tale to be seen in the market today is that we have learned nothing from the economic crash of 2008 and less than nothing from the high-tech crash at the beginning of the millennium. The market is wildly speculative on dot-com stocks and highly leveraged. It has huge potential to fall rapidly if something goes wrong because the investing is so highly leveraged (built out of debt). The market looks exactly like it did before the last bust of the dot-com bubble. Because it is such an unstable situation and because the headwinds that I forecasted last March have grown, the likelihood of that market toppling in the fall has increased.
Every force mentioned in my March forecast has built up in the directions predicted, bringing the risk level for this fall to exactly the precarious level I predicted. Remember, I bet my blog on things taking that direction this past March, promising I’d stop making forecasts if I was wrong about the direction these headwinds were taking us….
I maintain that bet while nearly everyone else is saying the economy has improved this year, and superficially it appears it has; but I am looking at the teetering state of the market and the growing forces of the winds that whirl around us and saying that those who think, based on statistics that the economy is recovering, are all looking in the wrong direction. They are not paying attention to the foundations of this structure, and they are not looking at the sheer forces that are ready to knock it off its wobbly foundation. The economy is, in fact, precariously weak, and the forces that could knock it over have grown increasingly strong.
The area in the yellow box below shows what happened less than two weeks after if I reiterated those strong warnings that things were about to go very bad:
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