Email of the day (2)
Comment of the Day

May 24 2012

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (2)

On similarities with 2008:
"As ever your service is invaluable but I am at the stage where I am looking at the charts and seeing similarities between now and the start of the 2008 crash. Please accept my apologies for the attached word document but I have cut and paste the chart from your library for the FTSE100 between 2006 and mid 2008 and tried to compare it as best as I can against the chart from 2010 to today. They look very similar to me. Of course the FTSE then crashed after the point that I cut it off from on the 2008 chart. My question therefore is do you see the same patterns and what probability do you place on a similar crash as in 2008, with Greece and Spain playing the role of Lehman and Northern Rock?

"We have placed our clients' portfolios extremely defensively for the time being with exposure to the aristocrats, cash, inflation linked bonds and the US dollar via treasuries. We have also had some clients start to take money out of Santander which is worrying as they are not particularly sophisticated investors.

"I have promised myself to get to one of your chart seminars but each time the timing is rotten as I seem to have new born to keep me occupied during the May London seminars and other life events happening at the November ones. Maybe a Caribbean one in the future to keep the wife and kids happy whilst I go off and study charts!"

David Fuller's view Thank you for your kind words, fascinating email of general interest and emotive graphic.

The short answer is that there is an eerie resemblance between the pattern in 2008 and today and I included this 10-year weekly chart so that subscribers can also see them side-by-side. However, this similarity is not unusual in technical analysis, largely because markets will either range, as in this instance, or trend.

The uncomfortable technical fact today is that the 4Q 2008 to 1Q 2009 rally has broken down and while the latest slide looks climactic in the short term, we have yet to see evidence that significant support is being encountered above the 2010 and 2011 lows. That said and to answer your question, I would place no more than a 30% probability that a replay of 2008 is underway.

Here are my reasons for being more optimistic: valuations are lower today; central banks are not tightening interest rates to fight inflation; we have not seen a similar spike in crude oil prices; the European situation is certainly serious but it is also well known, unlike the extent of the US banking debacle before the crash in 2008; the US government did not figure out how to respond before the crash; most people know what the ECB and European governments need to do today. Nevertheless, this last factor may not prevent a disorderly default by Greece, which possibly could trigger the broader sell-off which investors have already partially discounted.

I am interested to hear that some of your "not particularly sophisticated investors" are taking money out of Santander. This is understandable given European concerns but could it also be a contrary indicator?

Given the way you have positioned your clients' portfolios, I conclude that they are in very good hands.

Your presence at a future chart seminar can only enhance the interesting workshop discussions.

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