There is a really high probability that we are in the midst of a stock market crash, the first since 2002. This is a ridiculously dangerous prediction for a commentator to make.
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There can be no certainty in calling a sharp movement, particularly one as wild as a "proper crash," which, depending on your point of view, is a 20% or 25% fall in the markets from their highs. Corrections come and go, and recently they've been coming with increasing frequency. However, a correction is a burst of stock market indigestion that soon passes and is forgotten. Although 5% to 10% moves are frightening, they don't change the basic picture of the investment climate.
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It is, of course, easy to suspect the oncoming likelihood of a crash at the pit of a correction; in a sense, that doom-laden vision is a strong indicator that the bottom has already been reached. Utter despair is at the point when all the selling is over, and dreams of doom are usually a sign that the turning point for good news has arrived.
That is at least a common hope. However, the current move has many of the hallmarks of a crash; one that would see the S&P 500 down to around 1,200.
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For a perma super-bull like me, it is most distressing to see a high likelihood of an impending dislocation. I would happily accept the prognosis that the market was OK and that I should get a prescription for Prozac instead, but to me the chart and the markets' behavior is flailing...