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Can you time market swings?

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Steven Pearlstein says there are times when it's obvious which direction the market is heading, and that he thinks now is one of those times.

Is he right that market swings are predictable? Please answer below. And if you'd like to describe respond in more detail or describe your experiences with market timeing, please do so by posting a comment.

By Hal Straus  |  September 24, 2010; 8:29 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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How can anything be predicted when the banks have been underprovisioning for losses the past 18 months ??

How many times can someone rob a bank before they are caught...??

The markets have a lot of garbage in their earnings figure. It is impossible to predict anything in a Ponzi. So the retail investor is gone. Twenty consecutive weeks of mutual fund outflows.

Posted by: bandcyuk | September 24, 2010 10:08 AM

Unlike Steve Pearlstein, Robert Prechter called both the 2007 top and the 2009 bottom. Right now he believes the market is headed down and destined to find its way toward Dow 1000 over the next few years. How can Steve and Robert both be right? The key reality at present is that few if any stock market touts believe in investing with a buy and hold strategy. That strategy is the only one that most people can make money on. It is certainly true that some particularly successful investors can make very large sums of money by timing the market and being right more often then they are wrong. But their gain has to come at the expense of someone else's loss. On average people can only make money when the value of the stock market goes up. All the rest including market timing, hedge funds and derivative bets are just gambling. The market makers take their cut just like Las Vegas. The rest just passes from the losers to the winners.

Posted by: dnjake | September 24, 2010 10:12 AM

Whatever his accuracy about timing, Pearlstein is way off-base about bonds. He says the only way to avoid a loss on a 10-year bond if rates go up is to hold it to maturity. True, you get your principal back. But don't avoid a loss because you miss out on higher payments now available for whatever life is left in the bond. One way or the other, you lose money.

Posted by: RLHughes | September 24, 2010 11:39 AM

After the GOP wins the midterm elections, the market will rise and the job market will improve. Corporations are sitting on huge sums of cash right now. Not investing, not hiring more workers. Just waiting... for what? For a GOP win, of course. I didn't create our political culture, but I do observe it.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 24, 2010 12:18 PM

Sometimes it's obvious when we are in a bubble, and sometimes you can see things are about to improve, but 90% of the time it's hard to tell which way the market is going.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 24, 2010 3:24 PM

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