I don't usually watch television, but I happened to catch Wednesday night's NBR. Analyst Hilary Kramer scared me out of my wits when she said she expected the market to drop 25%:
I believe in the first six months, everyone should be very careful, all investors. We could see the Dow dip to 7500. S&P could have another 25 percent downside...But don't just rush in or if you have some concern in the market, sell, hold out, wait for the real bottom to come...I think that gold could reach $1400 during 2009.
I was absolutely frightened until I saw the following transcript, also from NBR. Ms. Kramer says,
I believe we have seen the bottom and we are going to now see a bull come back into Wall Street. We have formed a bottom and the reason we know that is that we finally had real buyers come in today. But we know it even more so because of what I saw this morning and yesterday, which is real fear. Fear took over and it over powered greed. Greed for so long was fueling the market, including as it was going down people buying into it.
The date? January 23, 2008. At that time, the DJIA was 12,270--now it's 8,468. The S&P was 1338--now it's 865.
The lesson? Analysts don't know squat. Trust your own instincts. Or at least listen to people who've been right before, like Barry Ritholtz.