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Stoken, a private investor with a flair for elegant analysis, firmly believes that consistent investment success depends almost entirely on timing. By that, he means paying close attention to a few fundamental (not technical) economic indicators--interest rates, inflation, the investment climate--which can be combined into a model that accurately calls important market turns: for debt securities, precious metals, and other vehicles as well as common stocks. It's a provocative thesis, elaborated in interesting, instructive detail. The ""hopelessly cyclical"" economy, Stoken maintains, operates in accord with laws of growth and decay (similar to those in biology) rather than the cause-and-effect logic characteristic of physical science. Further, economic trends change behavior to conform to their direction. In this quasi-contrarian context, Stoken offers guidelines for identifying major turning points. Among other things, the investment climate becomes favorable once either short-term or long-term interest rates (as measured by 90-day Treasury bills and triple-A corporate bonds, respectively) fall to a 15-month low, while the stock market reaches a buy zone one week after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at a two-year low; an inflationary spiral begins when the annual rate hits or exceeds 5 percent and is at a 12-month high--provided two years have passed since the last deflation ended. From these and related criteria, Stoken advances a series of investment rules. He also reviews his indicators over the 63 years from 1921 through 1983 (showing how attentive investors would have been in and out of the market within 4 percent of major bottoms and tops) and includes sample portfolios of stocks geared to outperform the DJIA during various phases of a bull move. For open-minded sophisticates: a challenging market thesis.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Macmillan