Elliott Wave’s Last Stand

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Happy Friday, everyone. Greetings from the Starbucks on the Google campus, where I’ve spent 1103-phiso many days and nights writing about the market while charging up the ol’ car. While I am usually quite prolific, my writing output cranked way down the past couple of days (and, hey, what’s with Springheel Jack? He used to be like clockwork, and now it’s like a post or two a week?) Anyway, I intend to resume my accustomed output.

As a comment cleaner, though, I’ll share a brief thought or two with respect to Elliott Wave. Many people – – the vast majority, it seems – – scoff at this realm as a ridiculous pseudo-science, akin to astrology, tarot card reading, or using planetary cycles. They could be absolutely right. But I haven’t utterly dismissed it.

Back in late 2008 and early 2009, I was of a different mindset. My view was that the world of EW was bordering on miraculous, and the twists and turns in the market were called with alarming precision and boldness. Indeed, much to the credit of EW, I remember so well in February 2009 that they essentially declared the madcap selling to be over. I was somewhat crestfallen, of course, because I was having such a fantastic time, but they were quite right, nailing the bottom within just a few weeks. Rather incredible, actually.

But that’s where the magic ends. Although they called for the bear market to pause in February of 2009, they posited that it would claw its way back up to about 900-1000 on the S&P 500 (wow!) and then simply collapse into even lower prices, ultimately challenging – – and I am not making this up – – a level on the Dow 30 matching the Great Depression (that would be a price of about 42 Dow points).

I probably don’t have to tell you that the S&P 500 didn’t turn tail at 1000 and plunge to new lows. On the contrary, it went up. And up. And up some more. And even more. And, over the course of over 100 months, roared to levels never before conceived, all while the volatility index reached the lowest levels in the history of mankind. Indeed, as we end this week, the VIX threatens to move to an 8-handle.

Optimism is rampant. Buy-the-dippers have been proved right countless times. Bears look like idiots, fools, has-beens, and dopes. The rich get richer, the chicken littles get poorer, and even at Dow 25,000, you are a stupid fool if you don’t put all your assets into stocks. You moron.

Maybe.

I do at least want to say that the latest prognostications from the world of EW are some of the most compelling and convincing i’ve ever seen. In fairness, I should say that EW has been fairly bullish the past couple of years, even calling for lifetime highs up to and including what we’ve seen recently. But they’ve said that’s the end of it.

I realize cognitive bias is hard at work here, and I fully respect the possibility that to give credence to any entity with such an inconsistent track record (to put it kindly) might seem deluded beyond hope. But I at least wanted to go on record and share my thoughts that the most recent missives, which split no hairs in the belief that this – – this right now, right here – – is the biggest tops of our lifetimes – – seem clear-headed, well-considered, and entirely possible.

Fortune favors the foolish.

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