A Cloudy Forecast

In his latest MarketWatch column, Mark Hulbert provides some interesting data on how the best — and worst — market-timers are viewing the current stock landscape.

“There is today virtually no difference in the consensus stock market forecasts among the best stock market timers and among the worst,” Hulbert says, looking at the average equity exposures of the market-timing services that have the best and worst track records over the past 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. “That is, the market timers who have successfully timed the market in the past are neither more bullish on balance than the worst timers, nor more bearish.”

What does that mean? “This suggests that investors may not want to bet all or nothing on the stock market going up or down over the coming months,” writes Hulbert.

When Hulbert last did such an analysis in early November, the better timers were somewhat more bullish than the worst timers. But now, he says, “the slightly bullish picture that the contrast between best and worst was painting six weeks ago has faded to one that is almost completely cloudy.” Hulbert says that doesn’t mean that the market won’t go anywhere in the near future. “But,” he says, “it does mean that, if the market does rise or fall markedly from here, it will have been predicted by just as many losers as winners.”

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