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20 Questions with Robert Prechter: Long Decline Ahead
The following article is an excerpt from Elliott Wave International's free report, 20 Questions With Deflationist Robert Prechter. It has been adapted from Prechter's June 19 appearance on Jim Puplava's Financial Sense Newshour.
Jim Puplava: I want to come back to government spending, but first I want to move onto the stock market. In your last two Elliott Wave Theorist issues, you laid out a scenario that would put the Dow and S&P, which in your opinion may have peaked on April 26, as the top from here. You feel that this top is the biggest top formation of all time, a multi-century top and we could head straight down in a six-year collapse that would end in 2016 that could see a substantial portion of the S&P and the Dow wiped out in a similar way that we saw between 1929 and 1933. Let's talk about that and the reasoning behind it.
RP: Yes, you're exactly right. I did a lot of work on technical forms, cycle forms and Elliott wave forms in April and May and put them in a double issue. Let's talk about the cycles first.
The 7¼-year cycle has been quite regular since the first bottom in 1980. The next bottom was at the crash in October 1987. The next one was November 1994, which is when the economy went through four years with lots of layoffs; it was a recessionary period throughout until that cycle bottomed. The next one was between September 2001, which was the 9/11 attack, and the October 2002 bottom. And the latest one was at the low in March 2009. All those periods are 7¼ years apart, so we are in the uptrend portion of the 7¼-year cycle.
However, notice for example that in 1987, the market went up until August of that year and then bottomed in October, just a couple of months later. So the decline occurred very, very late in the cycle. This time it occurred a little bit earlier in the cycle, topping in '07 and bottoming in '09. In the current cycle, prices should peak the earliest of all of them. It's what we in the cycle prediction business call "left-hand translation." The market's already gone up for about a year, and I think that's just about enough. I think we're going to spend most of the cycle going down. But the important thing to note is that the next bottom is due in 2016. That means I think we're going to have a repeat of what happened between 1930 -- which was the top of the rally following the 1929 crash -- and the July 1932 low. Instead of taking two years, it's going to take about six years.
It's going to be a very long decline. It's going to be interrupted by many, many rallies, just as the decline from 1930 to 1932 was. And every time it bottoms and rallies, people are going to say "OK, that's enough; it's over." But it won't be over. It's just going to be a long, long process. I think you and I will probably be talking a few times during this period. One of the interesting aspects of this process is that optimism should actually remain dominant through the first three years of the cycle. That will carry us into 2012. Even though prices will be edging lower, most people are going to think it's a buy, and you shouldn't get out of your stocks, and recovery is just around the corner, probably for the next three years. And then, for the final half of the cycle, the final three years, that's when you'll get the capitulation phase when everyone finally gives up.
Editor's Note: The article you are reading is just one small excerpt from Elliott Wave International's FREE report, 20 Questions With Deflationist Robert Prechter. The full 20-page report includes even more of Prechter's insightful analysis on fiat currency, gold, the Fed, the Great Depression, financial bubbles, and government intervention. You'll learn how to protect your money -- and even profit -- in today's environment. Read ALL of Prechter's candid answers for FREE now. Access the free 20-page report here.