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Up And Down And Back To The Future

By Dian Vujovich

Trying to figure out the hows and whys and when-is-it-gonna-change-upwards behind the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s (DJIA) performance lately will drive you crazy. Sort of like the “nobody really knows” answer to the “what happens after you die?” question, no one really can forecast with much accuracy about the Dow’s performance other than that it goes up and down.

In the midst of all of the uncertainty, however, most of us are believers in good things and have hopeful prospects for the future whether the future is market-related or individually personalized. That said, the markets are going through a really lousy spell.

Closing below the 8000 level on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008, meant many stocks hit 52-week lows and sent forecasters out reforecasting.

According to the Navellier Marketmail Special Alert (www.navellier.com), some of the economic events that have brought the Dow to what most hope was its knees yesterday include a new all-time low for the NAHB Housing Market Index; October consumer prices dropping to their lowest levels in 61 years; core consumer prices last month (it excludes food and energy prices) falling also; and then news from the Fed. It has lowered its 2008 and 2009 GDP estimates on the one hand and raised its 2008 and 2009 unemployment expectations on the other.

Add the lack of confidence many have in Treasury Secretary Paulson’s ability to turn things around with the S&P500, NASDAQ and Dow’s bearish performances and it’s an aw-jeez kind of situation.

Perhaps the best we can hope for in the near term is a return to the good old days of September 2001. Yes, the awful 9/11 month when, for those with steely memories, the Dow Jones Industrial Average began that month at the 9,946.98 level, closed at 8,847.56 and its worst closing-day average of 8,235.81 was Sept. 21. BTW, the Dow ended 2001 at 10021.57.

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