Back to the '70s

Saturday 15 May 2004

Disco, bell-bottoms and the Eagles may not make a comeback, but lousy stock market returns might.

By The Landlord

The 1970s produced many things of debatable merit: disco, feathered hair, the Pinto; some people love them, some people hate them.

But few would disagree that the stock market was lousy in that decade, and some analysts, unfortunately, fear that performance could be repeated in the decade to come.

Between 1970 and 1979, the Dow Jones industrial average gained just 4.8 percent, a pretty miserable performance. Adjust that for the runaway inflation of the period, and things look even worse.

That sluggish decade was in fact part of a longer, 16-year, flat stretch, running from 1966 to 1982, according to many analysts.

Stocks took a similar 16-year breather between 1934 and 1950, according to technical analyst John Bollinger, founder of Bollinger Capital Management, before launching into a 16-year bull market, and the doldrums of 1966-82 set the stage for another bull market from 1982-1998.

If the pattern holds true, then we might not see the next long-lasting bull market until, oh, say, 2014. And Bollinger believes the pattern is holding true.

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