eerie forecast from stars, IChing
By BRIAN HALE
Monday 24 September 2001
Age (in Melbourne)
As everyone looks to New York for steadiness after
a horrific week for
markets everywhere the only question in Australia and all
markets is "how much worse can it get?"
The only answer here is that no one knows, although
there are a lot of
opinions, a lot of guesses and mainly a lot of shrugged shoulders.
The only man who did predict a market plunge and terrible
including war around September 11 is not very hopeful.
Arch Crawford, the ex-Wall Street master technical analyst
combines stock charts with astrological charts in his "Crawford
Perspectives" newsletter, told his clients back in August
to go 100 per cent short - to
sell every share they owned and sell just as many that they
with the intention of buying them back when prices fell and
Sitting in the sun in the park on the day before the
World Trade Centre
attack, I almost fell off the bench reading his just-arrived
newsletter. The headline was "Crash by October 5th?"
and the text referred
back to his prediction in May last year of a "bloody
bear market" in six
to 18 months.
"We are faced with the THE DARKENING OF THE LIGHT
(his capital letters)
according to a much older Chinese tradition, The I Ching,
or Book of
Changes," wrote Arch just before the terrorist attack.
"Henceforth, the surprises will manifest on the
Dark side of the Force!"
He predicted planetary movements on September 8 would
be "leading as to
war", that the ninth would be another turning
point for markets and that
financial markets could be occulted (hidden) on the 10th to
He is not very hopeful now because he has not altered
outstanding prediction at the start of the month. It is for
"when Mars conjoins the July 5th lunar eclipse".
The prediction reads:
"For the US - WARLIKE! ACTION! Affects $US on world markets!"
Arch's reasoning for the market predictions was based
partly on technical
analysis - which suggested that a "cascading capitulation
possible - and largely on looking at the positions of the
That's not what the major investment banks do, of
course, but it's
always worth reading what Arch has to say because experience
has shown that
he can be more right than the rest; which is why he is always
among, and often
leads, the Top Ten ranks of market-timers even for five and
He did predict the '87 Crash. He did get the 1994
He did forewarn
of the approaching Tech Wreck last year - and he also got
of the upswings too. Nor is he always bearish.
After an early April buy signal this year, for example,
positions in early May, was 200 per cent long using full margin
July and then reversed to 100 per cent short.
All this might seem a bit off-the-planet, but it is no more
so than the
buffeted currencies, tumbling commodity prices, soaring short-term
prices, plunging share prices and volatility, volatility everywhere
have exhausted people who already were drained by the horrible
unfolded in New York in the previous week.
Their shrugged shoulders became sagging shoulders too last
week as hectic
working days were broken by poignant and tearful memorial
many of the more than 6000 people who perished in such a terrifying
Maybe some of the turmoil last week was because many
people just didn't
have their hearts in it. Somehow it didn't seem to matter
all that much
when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dragged itself past
the closing bell
on Friday with a freefall of 1367 points across the five sessions.
It was the key blue-chip index's worst week since
the Great Depression, a
fall of 14.3 per cent that doubled to 28 per cent the tumble
from its high
Nasdaq's Composite Index plunged 16 per cent over
the five days,
extending the fall from its most recent high in May to 28
per cent and
taking the drop from its all-time record high to more than
70 per cent.
This week starts with an estimated $US1.38 trillion
wiped off the value of the whole sharemarket since trading
Monday, with the New York Stock Exchange surrounded by troops,
personnel carriers and the tightest security ever seen on
It also starts with the volume record books rewritten
to show that five of
the NYSE's 10 busiest days occurred last week with Monday
holding down the
top spot and Friday sitting second.
In itself that seems to suggest that an effective
support program was operating all week to parachute the market
and presumably it will be there again this week if stocks
There's no point thinking about the reasons for the panicky
ranging from war and economic uncertainties to fears about
earnings plunges and consumer pullbacks as layoffs mount to
two million etc,
because we're in a frozen moment in time.
No economist, analyst or strategist on Wall Street
can predict anything
about any of that with any confidence. Nor can anyone truly
the heavy redemptions of equity mutual funds that continued
last week will
turn into a tide; whether the selling by foreigners will continue;
the wide-scale margin calls that prompted a lot of forced
selling last week will
Around this city most people are more concerned about
whether the much
rumored second wave of terrorist attacks will eventuate ...
concern has more to do with the lives of their loved ones
about whether further attacks might steepen America's slide
FOOTNOTE: This column is dedicated to UBS Warburg's Scott
Saber - a
joyful man with a strong sense of right and wrong who loved
and friends, and in his last moments at the top of the World
Trade Centre gave
his cellphone to strangers so they could call home.
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