Prediction For The Rest of 2006

by: Roger Nusbaum

Roger Nusbaum submits: A reader asked about whether I was sticking with my 2006 prediction for the S&P 500. I immediately thought of Clubber Lang predicting pain.

I actually don't think things will be that painful.

My prediction from the end of last year was that the S&P 500 would finish this year between 1180 and 1219.

Since that was the prediction there is no changing it. The question becomes am I managing any differently in anticipation of that prediction being wrong? The short answer is not yet.

When the market was bottoming in June a lot of people I respect said that the market will rally to a lower high, setting up the probability of then a lower low. I jumped on that bandwagon myself and while I don't know if that will be right or wrong, so far it is playing out exactly as advertised.

It is true that there is less fear of equities these days compared to two months ago. The current economic data suggests a slowing of some magnitude and the inflation data (notice I said data not reality) is still mixed.

After a 6% rally in just two months it is reasonable to expect some giveback.

All of the things I cited in making my prediction are still true. Both the stock market cycle and economic cycle are historically long in the tooth. This is the worst year of the presidential cycle. I was worried about the yield curve (and still am). Earnings are slowing a tad (this may get worse or it may not, we will see). There is and has been less demand for the dollar.

Nothing has changed with any of the things that went into the prediction. That is not to say that this list of things won't be wrong. I could be very wrong about this, but the reasons were all based on things that ultimately hurt the market and I think they are still in place.

I have written a lot about being wrong. That my prediction could be wrong is exactly why I am not sitting a lot of cash. I have taken some defensive steps and while I have lagged the rally I have caught most of it. For I all I know Abby will be right about 1400.

I have had some comments from people sitting in a lot of cash saying it is tough to do right now. I don't doubt their word. I have never advocated a lot of cash I and wouldn't know what to tell someone who is 80%, or more, in cash what to do.

I would say going from 100% cash to 100% stocks right now would be a panic buy. It could be the right thing to do but it would be a reaction to panic. Hopefully no reading this will panic.

I have been very transparent with what I have done in the last few months and if you have been reading this site that long you might be in touch with the trades made. For now I feel quite comfortable with my positioning.