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Dan Sullivan, Charting the Course?

| Last Updated: August 29, 2011 | Posted in: Individual Gurus

Guru Accuracy Rating
This is above average. Current guru average is 47%

We evaluate here the market commentary of Dan Sullivan since May 2002, previously available via Zacks.com during 9/02-10/05 and via MarketWatch columns from just before that period to the present (with some non-overlapping commentary from his MoneyShow.com articles). Dan Sullivan is editor of  The Chartist, which “tells you exactly when to buy and when to sell.” His general approach is to wait for the market to reveal a clear trend before committing or pulling funds. He states that: “We do not make predictions or pretend to have a crystal ball. Instead we let the market be our guide.” The table below quotes forecast highlights from the cited source and shows the performance of the S&P 500 Index over various numbers of trading days after the publication date for each item. Grading takes into account more detailed market behavior when appropriate. Red plus (minus) signs to the right of specific forecasts indicate those graded right (wrong) based on subsequent market behavior, while red zeros denote any complex forecasts graded both right and wrong. We conclude that:

  • Dan Sullivan is a technician, citing a wide range of trading activity and  sentiment indicators as predictive of future returns. His view is generally  long-term. His general approach of buying on strength and selling on weakness  makes him enter after bottoms and exit after peaks.
  • The frequency of his available forecast commentary is much less regular  since he stopped providing summaries via Zacks.com.
  • Dan Sullivan’s forecast sample is moderate, as is therefore confidence  in the measurement of his accuracy.

Here are additional notes to augment the tabular summary:

From Peter  Brimelow in MarketWatch (7/28/11): “…over the year to date through June, The Chartist is up 5.9% by Hulbert Financial Digest count, versus 6.09% for the dividend-reinvested Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Market Index. Over the past 12 months, the letter is up 22.41%, versus 31.99% % for the total return Wilshire 5000. …over the past three years, the Chartist is up 7.25% annualized, versus 3.96% annualized for the total return Wilshire. Over the past five years, the letter is up 5.52% annualized, versus 3.44% annualized for the total return Wilshire. Over the past ten years, the letter is up an annualized 4.55%, versus 3.73% annualized for the Wilshire.”

From Peter  Brimelow in MarketWatch (4/8/10): “Over the year to date, The Chartist is up 10.2% by Hulbert Financial Digest count versus 6% for the dividend-reinvested Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Market Index. Over the past 12 months, the letter is up, albeit less than the total return Wilshire, 36.38% versus. 55.65%. But over the past three years, The Chartist is up an annualized 6.35% versus negative 3.83% annualized for the Wilshire 5000.”

From Peter  Brimelow in MarketWatch (4/23/09): “Over the past 12 months,  [The Chartist and the Chartist Mutual Fund Letter] lost significantly  less (negative 10.86% and negative 0.37%, respectively) than the memorable  negative 37.96% scored by the total return Wilshire. Over the past three years,  the letter has achieved an annualized gain, versus a negative 13.33% annualized  for the total return Wilshire 5000. Over the past five years, The Chartist and the Chartist Mutual Fund Letter respectively achieved a 4.06% and  6.22% annualized gain, compared to a negative 4.35% annualized for the total  return Wilshire 5000.”

From Mark Hulbert in MarketWatch (6/1/06 and 4/18/06): The Chartist is “one of the ten services  with the best risk-adjusted market timing returns over the last decade”  and is one of several services “whose market timing strategies had beaten  a buy-and-hold over the last couple of decades.”

See Guru Grades for a snapshot of the accuracy of various experts in predicting the direction of the U.S. stock market, including links to evaluations of the commentaries of other individual market pundits and gurus.

    S&P 500 Index  
Date Comments from:  Dan Sullivan via zacks.com and MarketWatch.com 5-Day Return 21-Day Return 63-Day Return 254-Day Return  
8/29/11 His advice for long-term investors acting in sync with his Actual Cash Account: “Remain fully invested.” -3.7% -4.9% -4.2% 15.7% +
7/28/11 “…the trading range which has been in effect for several months will eventually breakout to the upside providing another up leg to this bull market. …our advice for long term investors… is to stay fully invested.” -7.7% -9.5% -5.5% 6.0%
5/19/10 Dan Sullivan emailed clients last night that he was changing his recommendation from being 100% invested in equities to being completely in cash.  -4.2% 0.2% -2.0% 19.6% +
4/8/10 He’s fully invested and is recommending that aggressive traders use margin. “…this bull market has further to run… We do not think it is too late to get onboard.” 2.1% -6.4% -10.6% 11.9%
2/1/10 …he is recommending that his followers be fully invested in the stock market… -3.0% 2.7% 9.0% 19.7% +
10/26/09 We do not think this market has gotten ahead of itself… Our models are in a bullish mode; thus, we continue to advise a 100% invested position. -2.3% 3.6% 2.4% 10.9% +
10/1/09 …the odds are weighted [towards] the market trending higher over the next several weeks. 2.0% 0.6% 9.4% 12.7% +
7/21/09 …last night Sullivan issued a buy signal, reversing a sell signal that he issued earlier this month. 2.6% 4.4% 13.9% 15.5% +
7/10/09 Dan Sullivan has thrown in the towel on the stock market’s four-month-old rally… His first retreat came a couple of weeks ago, when he moved his model stock portfolios to cash — though he chose at the time to keep his model mutual-fund portfolios fully invested.
But Sullivan earlier this week pulled the plug on even this remaining equity exposure. And so, all his model portfolios are now 100% in cash. 
7.0% 14.6% 20.3% 24.6%
6/25/09 …the odds appear to be weighted in favor of higher stock prices over the next three, six, and nine months and possibly beyond with corrective activity being limited in scope. -2.6% 6.7% 15.3% 13.1% +
6/2/09 …Sullivan recommended that subscribers move from being only partially invested in equities to being fully invested. And in his most aggressive model portfolio, he actually moved to being 125% invested… -0.2% -2.3% 8.9% 12.7%
4/15/09 …Sullivan recommended moving his newsletter’s model portfolio from its current all-cash position to becoming 50% invested. -1.0% 4.8% 6.3% 40.5% +
3/14/09  He…is looking for a 15%-20% rally that would take us into the 800s on the S&P 500, but then he says we’ll retest Monday’s S&P close of around 676. “I think it’s a bear-market rally, so I’m advising subscribers to sell into the rally [or stay on the sidelines].” …he expects to see a market bottom…some time during the summer. “…this is not a good time to buy.”  9.2% 13.0% 25.5% 54.6%
12/18/08 Dan Sullivan turned bearish on the stock market in mid-January and remains so today. -1.4% -5.1% -13.2% 26.3% +
10/16/08 “We remain in the bearish camp and continue to advise a 100% position in the safety of money-market funds. …The areas of support are the Dow – 7,882, S&P 500 – 839… Despite today’s carnage we expect these support areas to hold.”  -7.4% -7.7% -10.9% 15.3% +
8/2/08 Our sell signal on January 15th remains in effect, and we continue to recommend that long-term investors maintain a 100% money market fund position. 4.5% 2.1% -23.6% -20.2% +
6/30/08 …the market continues to lack conviction, and our models are still in negative territory. This is the time for patience…if the March lows are taken out, the market could be in a great deal of trouble. -0.5% 0.3% -5.2% -30.0% +
6/2/08 …Dan Sullivan is bearish; his model portfolio is 100% in cash. However,…his models “are improving. If the market continues to hold its own in this environment, we envision moving back into a 100% equity position within the next several weeks. -1.7% -7.3% -6.1% -32.0% +
4/3/08 Could a new bull market be underway? It could, but with our models in a highly negative mode, we seriously doubt it. -0.6% 2.8% -6.2% -39.0% +
3/20/08 He is currently in a 100% money market fund position. “Our advice for long-term investors…is to remain on the sidelines.” -1.1% 4.4% 0.6% -39.4% +
1/17/08 …the decline he now expects is not likely to be a small one, either in terms of duration or magnitude of losses. …Sullivan has liquidated his two model stock portfolios and gone completely to cash. -0.2% 1.2% 2.4% -37.0% +
1/2/08 With our models in a positive mode, our advice is to stay the course…it’s still a bull market. -2.6% -3.6% -5.5% -35.9%
12/14/07 “If history is any guide, this bull market has further to run…at bull market peaks, the news is highly favorable and the public is jumping in with both feet. Currently, the public is apprehensive with the financial press painting a very bleak picture. This is more indicative of a market bottom than a top.” Sullivan’s model portfolio is fully invested. 1.1% -6.5% -13.0% -38.4%
11/23/07 “…a snapback rally is way overdue, and we would be surprised if it did not take hold within the next two trading sessions. However if the market continues to slide we will be forced to take defensive action.” 2.8% 3.9% -4.8% -40.5% +
11/15/07 …his models remain in the bullish camp. His model stock portfolio, as well as his model mutual fund portfolio, are both 99% invested. -0.7% -0.4% -7.0% -40.8%
11/12/07 “We are in the correction camp and believe this most recent market drop presents a buying opportunity with our stop-loss strategy in place.” -0.4% 3.3% -6.3% -36.7% +
10/22/07 “Our advice is to continue to remain in a 100% invested position.” 2.3% -4.4% -13.0% -41.8%
10/5/07 “Technically the market remains bullish and it should be a matter of time before the other major indexes follow the Dow and hit all time highs.” Sullivan’s model stock portfolio currently is 72% invested, and his model fund portfolio is currently 98% invested. 0.3% -3.6% -9.4% -36.8%
7/27/07 “…our models remain in positive territory. Continue to maintain current positions.” -1.8% 0.5% 3.9% -12.0% +
7/2/07 …focus on the stock market’s longer-term trend, which…is “still positive.” …model stock portfolio is around 95% invested currently, and his model mutual fund portfolio is close to 100% invested. -0.6% -3.5% 0.5% -16.9%
6/8/07 [He] remains bullish on the stock market. …he expects the market to [decline] somewhat more before an “effective bottom” can be reached. …model portfolios…remain close to being fully invested. 1.7% 0.2% -1.9% -11.4%
4/27/07 He continues to advise a 100% invested position. “…this bull market is actually quite subdued, which is a good indication that it could stretch out for several more months…there is ample cash on the sidelines.” 0.8% 1.6% -0.8% -5.7% +
3/19/07 “The bull market that began back in early October 2002 is alive and well.” …the storm has passed…Actual Cash Account portfolio is currently 95% invested. 2.5% 5.0% 9.3% -5.2% +
2/27/07 We continue to advise a 100% invested position. -0.3% 1.3% 8.3% -4.9% +
2/5/07 Bullish. Sullivan’s model stock portfolio is around 95% invested currently, and his model mutual fund portfolio is close to 100% invested. -0.9% -3.8% 4.1% -7.6%
11/16/06 …Dan Sullivan is still bullish. Currently, he’s 95% invested. “…While this overbought condition needs to be worked off, it remains a healthy bull market, which in our opinion has further to run. 0.1% 1.6% 4.3% 9.6% +
10/5/06 …as of Wednesday [10/4/06] night, Sullivan is 100% invested in equities. 0.7% 0.8% 4.2% 15.5% +
9/8/06 We are still waiting for…a possible all clear signal to return to a 100% invested position… For right now though we would sit tight. 1.6% 4.0% 8.8% 14.2%
7/17/06 The Chartist, impelled by his trend-following relative strength system, is being forced out of the stock market. His long-term portfolio is now only 62% invested… “…we remain very cautious…” 2.1% 4.1% 10.4% 24.3%
7/3/06 He’s down to 70% invested… “The markets continue to trade very erratically…” -0.6% -0.1% 4.3% 19.7% +
6/14/06 “On a scale of one to ten, 10 being a sell signal, our models are currently registering a 7.” 1.8% 0.5% 6.8% 24.7%
6/12/06 “…we were very impressed by today’s turnaround – so much so that we feel an effective bottom has been reached.” 0.3% 1.8% 3.9% 24.0% +
6/8/06 “It has always been our policy over the years to do our buying on strength…when all systems are in gear …”
Sullivan’s conclusion: “Right now, we have to deal with what we’ve got – a dicey market.”
-0.1% 0.7% 3.4% 20.5% +
6/1/06 Dan Sullivan…is convinced that the market “is still quite capable of working its way out of this rough patch.” -2.2% -1.2% 1.4% 18.0%
3/20/06 The bull market might be mature, based on historical yardsticks. However, our models are telling us that it has further to run. Long term investors and traders are advised to maintain current positions. -0.3% 0.4% -4.1% 10.0%
3/1/06 Editor Dan Sullivan acknowledges that there is no shortage of things to worry about right now, including “geopolitical factors such as Iran’s resumption of nuclear energy research [and] continued threats of terrorism in the U.S. and Europe.” This is not necessarily bad for the stock market, however, in Sullivan’s opinion, since “stock prices often perform best during periods in which the proverbial ‘wall of worry’ is present.” -1.0% 0.7% -2.4% 8.1%
12/5/05 The Chartist, is unflinchingly, if tersely, bullish. -0.2% 0.9% 1.1% 11.5% +
10/18/05 …remain in the bullish camp and continue…a 100% invested position… Clearly, the near-term trend is down. …expect a good, snapback rally to take hold at any time. 1.6% 4.5% 8.5% 16.2% +
10/7/05 …hold off on making additional buy[s] for the time being… remain steadfast in the bullish camp. …risk…paper profits until…convincing evidence that a bear market is under way. -0.8% 2.3% 7.5% 12.9% +
9/16/05 …remain in the bullish camp and continue…a fully invested position. -1.8% -3.9% 2.8% 7.0%
9/6/05 …the economy is still strong and growing at a healthy non-inflationary rate…  most technical indicators are currently bullish …the up-trend that began in March of 2003 is still intact and…investors should continue to hold their positions. -0.2% -3.0% 2.6% 5.3%
8/29/05 …there is nothing in the technical picture that suggests that the long-term trend has been broken. 1.7% 0.4% 4.6% 7.6% +
8/16/05 …remain fully invested. -0.1% 0.7% 1.3% 6.8% +
8/5/05 …continue…a 100% invested position….stocks should have further to run. 0.3% 0.6% -1.0% 3.2%
6/27/05 …remain in the bullish camp. Long-term investors and traders are advised to continue to maintain all current positions. 1.2% 3.9% 2.1% 6.9% +
6/14/05 Sullivan remains in the bullish camp. …the up-trend that began in March of 2003 has not been broken. 0.8% 1.9% 3.0% 4.0% +
5/11/05 …remain in the bullish camp and continue…a fully invested position. …have an exit strategy which will be deployed if the situation arises. 1.2% 2.3% 5.1% 10.5% +
4/22/05 …give this bull market every benefit of the doubt. 0.4% 3.6% 6.5% 13.3% +
4/12/05 While the longer-term technical condition of the stock market remains neutral to positive at this time, there are some other warning signs that the risk-to-reward relationship may be starting to change. -2.9% -1.4% 2.7% 8.5% +
4/4/05 Until the trend clears, caution is advised. 0.4% -1.3% 1.3% 11.5% +
3/15/05 … the odds favor a continuation of this bull market… -2.2% -3.0% 0.3% 9.1%
2/23/05 …remain 100% invested…but if you have money waiting to be deployed, …hold off until we get a breakout through the December highs… 1.6% -1.6% 0.3% 8.7% +
2/8/05 Long-term, …remain in the bullish camp and continue…a 100% invested position. …expect more downside action over the near term. 0.7% 0.6% -2.0% 5.4%
1/28/05 …more downside action is in the cards… 2.7% 3.3% -2.4%  
1/7/05 …this bull market has reached a mature stage. -0.1% 1.4% -0.4% 9.1% +
12/17/04 All systems are go…remain fully invested. 0.9% -0.8% -0.4% 5.5%
12/7/04 …this bull market is getting long in the tooth… The market can undoubtedly move higher from here with the momentum being generated, but as the old saying goes, “they don’t ring a bell at the top.” 2.2% 0.9% 3.6% 6.7% +
11/9/04 …the outlook for the market in the months ahead looks very favorable. 1.0% 2.2% 3.3% 5.7% +
10/28/04 If fully invested, no action is required. 3.0% 4.5% 4.2% 7.1% +
10/18/04 …we are still very much in a bull market… -1.7% 5.5% 6.3% 7.3%
8/16/04 …sentiment readings are becoming bullish, …readings are oversold, valuations are favorable… 1.5% 3.8% 8.7% 13.1% +
8/12/04 …a technical bounce could be on the horizon. 2.6% 5.9% 9.5% 16.0% +
7/27/04 Stocks are registering oversold levels, which could produce a bounce… Dan Sullivan sees no reason to sell winning stocks at this time. 0.4% 0.9% 0.1% 13.6% +
7/2/04 …the May 10th intra-day lows are not going to be taken out in the immediate future. In fact, he anticipates them marking the low point of this year. -1.0% -2.3% -1.0% 6.2%
6/11/04 …the bull market that began in March of last year continues to have legs. 0.4% -1.2% -0.1% 7.2%
5/21/04 For the time being, the path of least resistance is to the downside…calling an end to the bull market would be premature… 2.5% 4.6% 0.4% 8.8%
5/11/04 …this bull market, although mature, still has a lot of life left in it. -0.4% 3.7% -1.5% 5.3%
5/4/04 …do no further buying, but continue to maintain all current positions. [Expect] this bull market to prevail… -2.2% -0.3% -1.8% 4.6%
4/13/04 …this bull market, which began almost 18 months ago, must be labeled mature but, based on historical yardsticks, it is far from over. -1.0% -2.8% -1.3% 1.2%
3/22/04 …we are still in a bull market…good times may be even better once this correction ends. 2.5% 2.6% 3.2% 6.9% +
2/27/04 …there is no question that a correction is long overdue…once the correction is out of the way, the odds favor a continuation of the bull market. 1.0% -2.0% -2.6% 5.7%
2/13/04  Dan Sullivan remains in the bullish camp and has been in that mode since April 8th of last year…maintain all current positions. -0.4% -3.1% -4.3% 5.6%
2/6/04 …odds favor a positive trend for the rest of the year… Dan Sullivan remains in the bullish camp. 0.3% -0.2% -2.5% 4.3%
1/19/04 …stocks should be able to extend their gains through the [fourth quarter earnings] reporting period… 0.5% 0.7% -0.3% 2.6% +
12/26/03 a major correction doesn’t look likely over the next several weeks…the bull market remains intact… 2.4% 3.0% 1.1% 10.7% +
12/8/03 …this bull run is only slightly more than half-way done. That means that you have plenty of opportunity to make higher returns… -0.1% 5.9% 6.7% 11.1% +
11/28/03 …the bull market should last for the near-term…remain fully invested… 0.3% 4.9% 9.2% 12.5% +
11/19/03 …this bull market should last until early March… 1.5% 4.4% 9.8% 12.9% +
10/24/03 …we are in a bull market, and it has been in effect since last October. 2.1% 2.3% 12.3% 9.6% +
10/15/03 …stay invested…positive news will be the order of the day. -1.6% 1.1% 8.0% 5.4%
10/6/03 While Dan Sullivan remains in the bullish camp, he intends to hold off on recommending additional stocks for the time being. 1.1% 1.8% 8.5% 8.5%
8/11/03 Dan would not be surprised to see this market develop into a…trading range market. 2.0% 3.1% 7.9% 8.6%
8/1/03 While Dan Sullivan remains bullish on the market’s longer term prospects and advises maintaining all current positions, it appears that a deeper correction could be in the cards. -0.3% 4.3% 6.9% 10.3%
7/14/03 …any correction in this market will be limited. -2.5% -1.3% 3.5% 9.7% +
6/20/03 …sentiment and overbought indicators give cause for concern. -2.0% -0.8% 4.4% 14.6% +
6/12/03 Dan would be hesitant to throw caution to the winds at this point because the market is currently in a heavily overbought condition with corrective activity way overdue. -0.4% 0.5% 1.2% 13.5% +
5/30/03 …the next several weeks should hold ample opportunity for investors to make up some lost ground… Dan Sullivan continues to advise a 50% equity position in a select group of high relative strength stocks. 2.5% 1.1% 3.4% 16.7% +
5/9/03 …this is not the time to throw caution to the wind. Partial commitments however, are warranted… 1.2% 5.5% 4.4% 17.6%
5/2/03 Dan Sullivan says the market can overcome its challenges and now advises a fully-invested position. 0.4% 4.5% 6.5% 20.6% +
4/22/03 …an approximate 50% commitment in high relative strength stocks is warranted at this time. 0.7% 1.3% 7.4% 25.2% +
3/28/03 …there is a good chance [the rally] could last several weeks…we are in a bear market until proven otherwise…remain cautious. 1.8% 6.3% 14.2% 30.4%
3/17/03 …odds are weighted in favor of higher stock prices over the near term…it could last several weeks…we are in a bear market until proven otherwise… remain cautious. 0.2% 3.2% 14.6% 30.1%
3/7/03 Dan Sullivan’s advice for over a year to remain on the sidelines in a 100% cash or equivalent position is unchanged. 0.5% 6.2% 19.5% 35.6%
2/7/03 …mentally prepare yourself for the next great buying opportunity…stand aside until he gets the all clear to re-enter. 0.6% -3.5% 10.9% 39.5% +
1/27/03 What we have here is a market…locked within the confines of a trading range…continue to remain in a cautious mode. 1.5% -2.4% 6.1% 33.8% +
1/15/03 …he continues to advise remaining in a cautious mode… -3.4% -9.1% -3.0% 24.0% +
1/6/03 …continue to sit tight… -0.3% -9.2% -5.4% 21.8% +
12/9/02 …investors should remain cautious for the moment, even though the market has shown some strong signs of life recently…stand aside. 2.1% 4.0% -10.2% 20.1%
11/22/02 For the time being, we would continue to sit tight and let this market tell its own story. 0.4% -4.1% -9.9% 13.7% +
11/8/02 …waiting a little bit longer to get re-involved may be the safest and smartest choice in this volatile time. 1.7% 1.1% -6.6% 18.3% +
10/15/02 …this market is going higher and possibly significantly higher over the next several weeks. However…it is still a bear market until proven otherwise, and there really is no reason to rush back into stocks at this point of the cycle. 1.0% 0.1% 5.7% 17.9% +
10/9/02 …stocks are working their way higher over the near term; however, there is still not enough negative sentiment out there to suggest that a new bull market is about to emerge… When this market finally turns around, the gains are going to be explosive… 10.7% 16.2% 17.1% 34.6%
9/19/02 …the best strategy is to wait on the sidelines until a clearer signal develops. 1.4% 4.9% 7.1% 22.0%
8/1/02 Dan Sullivan expects higher prices short-term but is also not convinced there’s been a low. 2.4% 3.6% -0.3% 9.1% +
5/23/02 “We would not be surprised to see the Nasdaq test its recent low of 1560 — about another 6 percent drop from here –and then see a short-term oversold rally develop. We continue to advise a very cautious position.” -2.7% -9.5% -13.5% -13.1% +

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