Betting Against the Popular Forecast

It’s a fact. When stock market analysts and economists all have the same view on the future then they are usually wrong. This has been proven time and time again. And that’s why the contrarian view (betting against the popular opinion) has become so common.

Here’s what has me worried about the current general view on the stock market:

Of the 14 biggest Wall Street brokerages, 14 believe the stock market will move higher this year. Yes, for the first time in years, all the major Wall Street firms have the same view for the year ahead. Unfortunately, there is no comfort here.

The last time all the major brokerage houses had the same price prediction for stocks was back in 2001. That year, too… all of Wall Street started the year expecting stock prices to advance. What really happened? Stock prices, as measured by the S&P 500, fell 13% in 2001.

The popular forecast, the one you could say is the 100% bet, is for higher stock prices in 2007. Record high debt levels, record high trade deficit levels, falling house prices, record low saving levels and consumers tightening their purse strings — it’s almost sad how Wall Street isn’t concerned. The Street just sees higher, higher, and higher stock prices this year.

Well, my forecast, as you have probably already guessed, is against the trend. I believe we could be in for a rude economic surprise this year. For one, I’m betting against the trend and calling for lower stock prices by the end of 2007. Hence, I would continue to stay away from the big-cap and blue-chip stocks, and instead look for the small, special situations that occasionally make themselves available.