Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Big Gains & Losses

Today's gain in the Dow was the 3rd biggest point gain ever, but it didn't even make it into the top 20 in percentage gains. On the other hand, yesterday's loss was the largest point loss ever and the 18th largest percentage loss.

In looking back at the days when there were large point gains, most of them occurred in the bear market of 2000 to 2002 and since 2007. Interestingly, none of them occurred between 10/15/02 and 9/18/07 during the "bear" market rally that lasted almost 5 years. 5 of the 16 had rallies that lasted 4 days or less. 10 had rallies lasting 18 days or more. So the probability lies with gains in the coming days, but the problem here is the large loss yesterday. The 3rd and 4th largest percentage losses came 10/28 & 10/29/29 followed by the 3rd largest percentage gain on 10/30/29. The low of the decline occurred 8 days later.

Since we are clearly in a bear market with fundamental conditions that are beginning to look a lot like 1929 and 1930 by some accounts, odds lean toward another lower low in October.

The fact is however, there is not enough data to draw a conclusion one way or the other. What will tell the tale is whether or not there is follow through. If there is, we may expect 3 to 4 weeks of rally, probably followed by more declines. Don't be attached to your positions one way or the other or you may get burned.

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