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Stock Markets Look Set to Crash Through 2002 Lows

Stock-Markets / Financial Crash Nov 20, 2008 - 09:11 AM GMT

By: Chris_Ciovacco


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleYour plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success or failure.” B.H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970)

Losses Highlight Need For Formal Risk Management - Wednesday's painful session in stocks brought the NASDAQ's (QQQQ) total loss from the 2007 highs to over 51%. The S&P 500 (SPY) is nearing a 50% loss as well. These depressing figures underscore the need for investors to have a formal and well defined risk management plan. Said another way, you should have started cutting losses a long, long time ago. However, it is dangerous to believe it is too late to adopt a strategy to cut losses in the event of further declines in asset prices. It is dangerous to assume the worst is over. Prudent money managers plan for the worst and keep an open mind about the possibility of more favorable outcomes.

Financials May Lead Market Even Lower

The absence of any sustained follow through after "one-day wonders" in stocks on 10/10/2008, 10/28/2008 and 11/13/2008 should not be ignored by investors. Sustained buying is simply not present, even at increasingly more attractive valuation levels. While the 2002-2003 lows in stocks may hold, investors would be wise to have contingency plans in place. Financial stocks, which have lead the market lower, broke below their 2002 lows in early October 2008 and have not been able to sustain a rally since. All the Dow stocks listed below have also broken below their 2002 lows (on a closing basis):

American Express
General Electric
General Motors
Home Depot

In last week's update, Where Valuations and Technical Support Intersect , we presented the chart below showing possible areas of support for stocks. The S&P 500 closed firmly below 840 on Wednesday finishing at 806. That places us only 5% from the lowest intraday low of 768 made in October of 2002. A failure to hold near 768 would open the door to 716 and 605. A decline from 806 to 605 would mean an additional 25% hit to investors' hard earned principal. We are not forecasting a decline to 605. We are simply stating 605 is in the realm of possibility based on both valuations and technical support. My sense is a decline to 605 would catch most investors unprepared since they assume "we must be close to a bottom" or "it is too late to sell now".

Support for stocks and normalized PEs

Potential Further Losses In Stocks Nov 2008

While I wish the news was better, the charts across almost all asset classes still look awful. Significant wealth destruction could still occur before stocks find their footing (on top of what has already occurred). Seeing some higher highs and higher lows in a few blue chip stocks would be a welcome sign. We still are seeing lower highs and lower lows - not a good sign. All 30 Dow stocks are below their 200-day moving average - again, not a good sign. As stated many times, stocks remain firmly in a downtrend. Until we see sustained evidence to the contrary, protecting principal remains the primary objective. As a result, contingency plans must be updated as events unfold. If we can hold in the 768-800 range on the S&P 500, then we can safely file away our 716 and 605 contingency plans.

By Chris Ciovacco
Ciovacco Capital Management

    Copyright (C) 2008 Ciovacco Capital Management, LLC All Rights Reserved.

    Chris Ciovacco is the Chief Investment Officer for Ciovacco Capital Management, LLC. More on the web at

    Ciovacco Capital Management, LLC is an independent money management firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. As a registered investment advisor, CCM helps individual investors, large & small; achieve improved investment results via independent research and globally diversified investment portfolios. Since we are a fee-based firm, our only objective is to help you protect and grow your assets. Our long-term, theme-oriented, buy-and-hold approach allows for portfolio rebalancing from time to time to adjust to new opportunities or changing market conditions. When looking at money managers in Atlanta, take a hard look at CCM.

    All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors and tax advisors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. This memorandum is based on information available to the public. No representation is made that it is accurate or complete. This memorandum is not an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned. The investments discussed or recommended in this report may be unsuitable for investors depending on their specific investment objectives and financial position. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. The price or value of the investments to which this report relates, either directly or indirectly, may fall or rise against the interest of investors. All prices and yields contained in this report are subject to change without notice. This information is based on hypothetical assumptions and is intended for illustrative purposes only. THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, AS TO ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, OR RESULTS OBTAINED FROM ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE. PAST PERFORMANCE DOES NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE RESULTS.

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