Watch this Stock Market Barometer

Being a buyer in this stock market could be like trying to catch a falling knife. Investment risk is very high and the market is at the whim of oil prices and corporate earnings.

My best guess right now is that the worse is not over for the stock market and that, at the very least, it will take the rest of the year for the bear market to play itself out. It could very well be that the only group of stocks that do well going forward consists of gold issues, as investors seek safe haven from inflation and a weak dollar.

As I’ve written before, I like to follow all kinds of companies on the stock market and use them as benchmarks to help shape my market view. One benchmark company that’s becoming much more attractive now is General Electric Company (NYSE/GE). The stock is trading around its 52-week low and is now yielding over four percent.

If you look at GE, it really is a global benchmark company. I always keep an eye on this stock, because its trading action is a good barometer for the rest of the market. The market isn’t likely to move in the opposite direction to GE.

If the market continues on its current path, I think there are going to be excellent buying opportunities created, mainly in the large-cap sector of the market. To be frank, with the current structural problems in the economy, it’s likely that the stock market won’t do much going forward, possibly for the next year or two.

Investor expectations are for high energy prices to stay with us for a long time. So, the price of oil isn’t going to be the future catalyst necessary to kick-start the economy and the stock market. Corporate earnings are always an important catalyst for stocks, but I think the catalyst that the stock market will be waiting for is the housing market to turn around. The problem with this scenario is that the real estate price cycle is typically a long one.