Working backwards through the year, here are some of the better calls by technicians as reported in The TaskMaster column. Jeff deGraaf, senior technical analyst at Lehman Brothers, issued a sell recommendation on stocks the week of
Dec. 9 , accurately forecasting that Santa would not be paying stockholders a visit this year. Several technicians made bullish calls at or around the market's October lows, most prominently Rick Bensignor, chief technical analyst at Morgan Stanley. The morning of Oct. 10, the day major averages hit their intraday lows for the cycle, Bensignor declared "one of the best buying opportunities of the year" had arrived. In addition, the technician expressed particular favor for high beta stocks -- namely low-priced technology names -- which vastly outperformed stock proxies during the rally. Back on Aug. 21 , just a day before the rally from the July lows peaked, Phil Erlanger of Erlanger's Squeeze Play warned "the market is in trouble" and said there were few reasons to "bet on the long side." Speaking of the July lows, Woody Dorsey of Market Semiotics, correctly forecast on July 25 that "stocks have finally given a real reversal" that should result in "good interim lows." Around the same time, Kevin Depew, a technical analyst at Dorsey Wright & Associates, was another chart-watcher who made similar observations . Meanwhile, Bernie Schaeffer of Schaeffer's Research, suggested that a "major rally ... was not precluded," but warned that "the 'all clear' signal for jumping back full bore into this market has not sounded, and the possibility of major additional damage before the ultimate bottom is far from remote." Those July lows followed some heavy-duty selling of stocks in late June and July. On the cusp of that selloff, Depew warned that "the risk is high in all stocks." Jordi Visser, head of hedge fund sales at Morgan Stanley, showed how a series of technical indicators presaged the market rally in late April.
Back in mid-March, John Bollinger, president of BollingerBands.com, was among the technicians warning the market was
ripe for a setback . On Feb. 15 , Dorsey correctly suggested "the majority may still assume we are in a 'new bull market' but the divergence between price-to-earnings ratios and profit reality is being recognized as unsustainable." With hopes still high 2002 would be a better year for stocks, Louise Yamada, director of technical research at Salomon Smith Barney, warned "we remain very cautious given the weakening technical indicators," on Jan. 31 . "Investors must remain nimble and continue to utilize risk management disciplines to preserve capital." On Jan. 14 , just 10 days after the market hit its peak for the year, Rick Berry, formerly of Centennial Capital Management in Atlanta and now an independent analyst, declared "you've seen the highs for the year." Separately, Berry's call in mid-May that small-cap stocks were about to get a comeuppance also proved prescient. Notably, the above is limited to calls cited in the column and thus does not include those of RealMoney.com's technically inclined contributors, including Helene Meisler, Gary B. Smith, John Roque and Dan Fitzpatrick. Furthermore, there were plenty of gaffes by technicians in the past year, just as some fundamental analysts got it right on occasion. Any self-respecting technician well tell you that reading charts is as much art as science and technical analysis is far from infallible. Then again, what is?