I think it’s likely that I introduced Bob Farrell’s Market Rules to Remember to the blogosphere (albeit to a smaller audience), as they’d been an integral part of my upbringing in the business and I was eager to share them when I started blogging. (BR posted them here in August 2008.)
That said, let’s have a look at Farrell’s Rule #9 which states:
9. When all the experts and forecasts agree – something else is going to happen.
With the understanding that it’s early August, that there are almost five months left in the year, that the Trading Gods will frown upon what I’m about to do and that I’ll wind up with copious amounts of egg on my face, I offer up the following look at what the consensus was saying with regard to year-end S&P500 levels just a very short time ago (originally via a Bloomberg terminal and circulated liberally). I simply do not have it in me to list any individuals’ names; I’ll leave it to the reader to figure out the who’s who. Caveat: There may have been updates to these forecasts since the time I first received them, but these were, in fact, the forecasts not all too long ago. And I recently attended a meeting at which one strategist who’s officially in spitting distance of the mean provided attendees a “whisper” number closer to the high. Oh well.
(We closed last year at 1257.)
So, the one thing that we could easily have inferred from this data when it was published was that the S&P would not close at (or near) 1400, which is now a cool 17% move from yesterday’s close in the context of an economy that is losing steam by the day. 1600 or 1200, yeah, but 1400, no way.
With that, I humbly ask the Trading Gods to be merciful in their punishment of me. My intention — to demonstrate in real-time one of Farrell’s Rules — was noble. Frankly, given our current circumstances, I find the prospect of a 17% gain between now and year-end fairly remote. But I have been wrong a couple thousand times in my career. Only time will tell if I should have waited until January 2012 to publish this, but that would evidence a total lack of cojones on my part; I’ll take my medicine at the appropriate time.