Richard Russell: 'A Hard Rain Lies Ahead'

by: Prieur du Plessis

Love him or hate him, 85-year old Richard Russell is the doyen of investment letter writers – having been at it for more than half a century – and his views as expressed in his daily Dow Theory Letters always make for stimulating reading. The paragraphs below summarize the R man’s “big picture” view of the U.S. stock market.

I want to say that I have a number of reasons for being convinced we have been in an upward correction [referring to the rally that commenced in March 2009] in an ongoing primary bear market. Some of this is based on my interpretation of the 50% Principle, plus my analysis of the very poor action of the “internal market” [i.e. market breadth] over recent weeks.

I envision the Dow dropping to test, and possibly violate, the 6,547 level. I don’t know whether this will take place this year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it does. It would not surprise me if the Dow tests the 6,547 level. And if that happens, I can almost guarantee the U.S. will have sunk into the much-feared “double-dip” recession.

If the U.S. begins to shrink into a double-dip recession, I expect the Obama administration to go ‘wild’ with new stimuli and ‘make-work’ programs, all of which will be financed with higher taxes (‘soak the rich’) and a further major expansion of the Federal Reserve balance sheet. I would also expect every central bank in the world to simultaneously open their money-printing spigots wide, wide, wide.

Conclusion in a nutshell: the secret of the forthcoming picture lies with the action of the U.S. stock market. Again I’ll remind my subscribers that the function of the stock market is to discount the future, not to mirror the present. All news is history. Or as Wall Street puts it, “news known is news discounted”.

One of the biggest mistakes amateurs make is to think something they know is unknown and not already discounted by the market. Despite this, the media insist on describing every move of the stock market as being a reaction to some current event or some new government statistic. They couldn’t be further off the mark. As I read it, the poor action of the current stock market is telling us that the future for the U.S. is bearish and a hard rain lies ahead.

At this juncture, sophisticated, wealthy people are not concerned with increasing their fortunes, rather they are searching for ways to conserve what wealth they have.