Poll of the Week: Stock Markets - Which Way Jose?

By: Prieur du Plessis | Fri, Apr 25, 2008
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Is it a bull market? Is it a bear market? Or is it some other stock market wiggle or waggle awaiting to be named after another of the veterans of Noah's ark?

I recently borrowed the word "muddle through" from business partner John Mauldin (Thoughts from the Frontline) to describe what would otherwise have been called a sideways market. So many Johns, so many terms: John Hussmann (Hussman Funds) highlights a number of phrases currently been bandied about by pundits to describe the market outlook: "looking across the valley", "last innings", "glass is half full" and "the Fed is on top of this". But, alas, these are often just guesses and mostly pretty useless in describing whether the stock market is going up, down or sideways.

It has become a national pastime to try to figure out where in the stock market cycle we are. Dear readers, this is where I am going to rely on your collective wisdom and ask you to express your opinion on the direction of the stock market. We will specifically focus on what is in store for the Dow Jones Industrial Index by considering two periods:

(1) from now until the close on June 30, 2008; and
(2) from now until the close on December, 31, 2008.

All you need to do is to think about this for a short while and provide your answers by clicking the appropriate button on each of the two poll images at the bottom of this post.

But let's make the poll even more interesting and throw out a challenge to good friend Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture) and his cohorts: Barry, please set up identical polls on your blog site and let's then measure whether, in the aggregate, The Big Picture fans or the Investment Postcards supporters rule the roost. There is $100 prize at stake in each of the two categories for the group (i.e. Big Picture or Investment Postcards) that nails the actual interval.

This prize money will be paid by Barry if the winner comes from the Investment Postcards team and by me, in the unlikely event of the Big Picture team claiming the spoils. The winning proceeds will be donated to a charity of the winner's choice. (Individual side bets are totally in order, but please then let us know about these by posting the details in the comments section on the respective blog sites.)

STOP PRESS: Barry has accepted the challenge and will put the details on The Big Picture site early next week.

Please share your thoughts on the direction of the stock market with other readers by clicking the appropriate buttons in each of the two polls below (and then start rigging the markets to give the required result!).

The polls will run until 17:00 EST on Friday, May 2, 2008.

Opinion Polls & Market Research

Opinion Polls & Market Research

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Prieur du Plessis

Author: Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

With 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management, Dr Prieur du Plessis is one of the most experienced and well-known investment professionals in South Africa. More than 1 000 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns. He also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment, in 2002.

He holds the following degrees: BSc (Quantity Surveying) (Cape Town), HonsB (B & A) (cum laude) (Stellenbosch), MBA (cum laude) (Stellenbosch); and DBA (Doctor of Financial Management) (Stellenbosch).

Prieur is chairman of the Plexus group of companies, which he founded in 1995. Previously he was general manager: portfolio management at Sanlam, responsible for the management of investment portfolios with total assets in excess of $5 billion.

Plexus is a pioneer in the mutual fund industry and has achieved a number of firsts under Prieur's leadership. These include the authoritative Plexus Survey, a quarterly analysis of the consistency of the performance of unit trust management companies, the Plexus Offshore Survey, the Plexus Unit Trust Indices, and the PlexCrown Fund Ratings.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin, American author of the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

In 2001 Prieur received the Santam/AHI Business Leader of the Year award for corporate leadership, business acumen and entrepreneurial flair. He was also profiled in the book South Africa's Leading Managers (2006). Plexus received the AHI/Old Mutual Enterprise of the Year award in 1997 and was also included in the book South Africa's Most Promising Companies (2005).

Prieur is 52 years old and lives with his wife, TV producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Welgemoed, Cape Town. His recreational activities include long-distance running, motor cycling and reading. He belongs to the Cape Town Club, Johannesburg Country Club, Gordon's Bay Yacht Club and Swiss Social & Sports Club.

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