After the big move, many investors are understandably worried that it may be too late to buy. Despite some sluggishness late last week, the consensus view on Wall Street is that quarter-end considerations followed by preholiday trading will likely keep shares afloat until July 4. Of course, the market has a way of frustrating as many participants as possible. So a sharper-than-expected downturn might occur, perhaps timed to disappointment with whatever the Federal Reserve does this week. Alternately, the much-anticipated correction might remain elusive, and some classic technical methodology suggests the rally has plenty of firepower left. "The surprise might be a setback doesn't come as early as those uninvested would hope for," said Henry "Hank" Pruden, executive director of the Institute for Technical Market Analysis at San Francisco's Golden Gate University. While acknowledging the market is "always susceptible to a short-term retrenchment," Pruden suggested a more serious correction might not occur until September or October, historically a period of upheaval. (Notably, he isn't too concerned about stocks' historic summertime weakness.)
Bell-Bottoms and Bulls
At a luncheon late last week hosted by the Technical Securities Analyst Association of San Francisco, of which he is executive director, Pruden declared himself to be a "romping-stomping bull." He forecast stocks will remain in rally mode through the 2004 election, helping President Bush win re-election "in a landslide." In a follow-up interview, Pruden explained his optimism is based partially on the "historical analog" of the early 1970s. After a boom in the mid- to late-1960s, stocks peaked in 1968-69 and then swooned to lows in 1970, the professor recalled. Thereafter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied sharply, establishing a (then) all-time high in 1973 shortly after the re-election of Richard Nixon. Soon thereafter, the bear market resumed with a vengeance. Using that precedent, Pruden forecast the Dow may achieve a new high during this cycle, about a 30% rally from current levels. Pruden is even more upbeat about stock proxies in Brazil and Argentina, recommending exchange-traded funds such as the iShares MSCI Brazil Index ( EWZ) fund.