Did the computers drive the Dow down 25% in a week in May 1940 (no, there was no major war news that would have justified such a move):
Here’s the Dow for the duration of the last depression. Quite a few crashes in there:
The fact is, markets just fall out of bed sometimes. It’s normal, and they don’t need the kind of reasons you can read about in the paper. Greece had nothing to do with it.
A move like this off a top does not mark the end. If we had plunged hard and reversed like this after we were already reading oversold on sentiment and momentum gauges, it could mark a bottom, but not right off the top — that is what should scare people today. This was not like Black Monday ’87 — it’s more like the Black Thursdays of ’29 and ’08 (huge intraday crashes with recoveries, followed the next week by the real crashes), or the Friday before the ’87 crash (down 5%). It’s likely a kickoff to more downside. New highs are possible, but looking less and less likely, and we doomsayers might be right after all these months…
You can’t predict a crash, but you can tell probabilities, and the probability of a decline was high as of last week. We had an extremely, extremely depressed put:call ratio, momentum was rolling over, mutual funds were all-in, and just about every measure of sentiment showed that complacency and bullishness were off the charts.
All this in the face of a depression. Yes, we are still in a depression — that’s what steady 17% unemployment is. Obama and friends conjured up some positive GDP by abusing the Treasury market’s generosity, and that spending is counted as “product,” but tax revenue, real estate prices, rental property vacancies, and unemployment tell the real story: this is a fragile environment. Dow 1500 is still on the table.
And how about gold? I gave up shorting it and suspected a rally after it failed to follow through on that drop from $1200 and sentiment got really bleak. Maybe real money will win sooner than I thought, or maybe this is a 2008 replay and gold will turn once the waterfall gets underway. Anyway, it gives me some hope that the companies in my mining stock database might not all go broke.