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Igor Greenwald: Ignore Igor?

| Last Updated: January 13, 2006 | Posted in: Individual Gurus

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

We evaluate here the advice offered in the “Trendspotting” column in SmartMoney.com by Igor Greenwald since October 2002 (the earliest available). Igor Greenwald was a regular writer and columnist for SmartMoney.com. 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:

  • Igor Greenwald has been generally pessimistic about the U.S. economy, even when he chooses to be in the market. He has been generally negative on U.S. equities, preferring foreign equities when invested.
  • Mr. Greenwald cites wide-ranging sources of data and opinion; we cannot deduce his signal priorities.
  • Igor Greenwald’s forecast sample is modest, as is therefore confidence in the measurement of his accuracy.
  • Igor Greenwald apparently stopped spotting trends as of January 2006. We retain this record as part of an overall review of the timing ability of stock market experts.

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: Igor Greenwald via SmartMoney.com 5-Day Return 21-Day Return 63-Day Return 254-Day Return  
1/13/06 All an angler needs is a shiny metal lure. -1.8% -0.9% 0.1% 11.1% +
9/19/05 This is a great time to seek out a good hedge. -1.3% -4.3% 3.2% 7.1% +
4/28/05 It’s possible that the stock market is discounting something more than a run-of-the-mill “soft patch.” And even if it’s not doing that now, one day in a none-too-distant future, it will. 2.6% 4.9% 8.2% 14.9%
3/8/05 …right now owning stocks seems to be working. …the bears have yet to meet their burden of proof. -1.8% -2.3% -1.8% 5.1%
2/3/05 I’m going to…spend some of my tax refund…on FBR shares for a Roth IRA account. I think the stock is [a] good…bet. 0.6% 3.0% -1.2% 5.5%
11/1/04 Since the market seems determined to oscillate in a downwardly sloping trading range, it seems…prudent to profit from up-legs starting near the bottom of that range, like the one that may have begun last week. So here I sit, with 35% of my retirement stash in overseas stocks, 5% in a gold miner and 30% in U.S. fixer-uppers, the latter strictly as a short-term trading ploy. The other 30% is staying in cash… 3.0% 5.4% 4.5% 7.5%
8/31/04 Since moving my retirement stash into cash nearly four months ago, I’ve certainly been tempted by the odd relief rally. But I’m not even a little tempted by the market now. 1.1% 0.9% 6.7% 10.6%
7/2/04 …cash is all I’ve held in my retirement account since early May. -1.0% -2.3% -1.0% 6.2% +
5/13/04 Please disregard what I wrote last week about riding out this market decline. I’ve pulled the emergency brake and gotten out. A couple of months in cash won’t hurt a thing. I’d rather buy the market at new highs than own it here. -0.7% 3.2% -3.0% 7.1%
5/4/04 I sat watching stocks sag and contemplated pulling the rest of my retirement cash out of equities. Paranoia clouds judgment, I decided, and left my 401(k) alone. -2.2% -0.3% -1.8% 4.6%
3/24/04 …steadily improving fundamentals will underwrite another upward push by stocks sometime this year… I wish I had some spare cash to put to work. But my entire retirement stash is still sitting in foreign stocks that I expect to outperform in the long run. The old 401(k) is down less than the market, thanks to some twitchy February trades… 3.2% 4.5% 4.8% 6.8% +
3/8/04 …we’ll spend much of the [tax refund] windfall on home renovations, gadgets and Martha Stewart’s…cheerful update of the classic prison stripe. And what’s left after that shopping binge is very likely to get funneled into a stock market grown increasingly reliant on such inflows. -3.7% 0.1% -2.2% 5.4%
2/18/04 …what happens to a stock market that pays lip service to strong earnings but cares much more about low interest rates and yield-curve arbitrage? In the short run, it gets more house money to “invest.” -0.7% -2.6% -5.9% 4.3%
2/10/04 Europe is the only major player still resisting the lure of economic steroids. Any chance that the dollar has seen its lows? Not much. 0.5% -3.4% -5.1% 5.2% +
1/21/04 …foreign stocks currently make up 98% of my retirement portfolio, and should continue to drive returns for months to come. [Do] not…waste time on pricey U.S. stocks and bonds. -1.7% -0.3% -2.6% 1.4% +
12/16/03 Junk is still what’s selling best. Wall Street’s speculative juices are just starting to flow after a three-year drought, and are unlikely to abruptly dry up next month. 1.9% 6.0% 4.5% 11.1% +
11/17/03 Stocks speed after the Federal Reserve pushes the gas pedal, and skid once it applies the brakes. I haven’t made my first billion yet, and so refuse to sneer at a stock market that may gain “only” 7% over the next year. 0.8% 3.1% 10.4% 12.1% +
11/4/03 …Japanese banks and U.S. health-care providers currently anchoring my 401(k) portfolio. [Do] not…count on our free-spending ways to bite our portfolio returns in the short run. And maybe not in the medium run, either. In the short term, …an economically robust fourth quarter will lead into another the massive dose of fiscal stimulus set to kick in next spring… -0.6% 1.6% 7.0% 10.6%
10/28/03 I’m still running with the bulls instead of hibernating with the bears. I got lucky in pulling more than half of my 401(k) out of stocks a week ago on little more than a hunch and a vibe. …now I’m again fully invested, though this time with a heavy tilt toward foreign stocks in general and Asia specifically. 0.6% 1.1% 7.8% 8.0% +
10/14/03 …my favorite mutual fund has delivered a lower return than 98% of its peers over the last year. Morningstar counts it in the lowest percentile for its category. -0.3% 0.9% 6.8% 6.1%
9/30/03 Got gold? If not, it’s time to at least ask yourself why you’re missing out on the strongest bull market going right now. Bonds are still down big from the summer’s peak. Stock flippers have finally gotten cold feet. 4.3% 5.2% 11.4% 14.0%
9/16/03 I’m still sticking with the 100% equity allocation I adopted a few months back. I’m betting on big earnings gains for small-cap growth stocks and for the income plays among the recently weak financials and energy suppliers. And if I could own gold, I would. 0.0% 1.7% 4.4% 9.0% +
8/12/03 …most defense-stock charts seem to be doing nothing much. Tech investors might soon find that attractive. 1.2% 2.6% 6.3% 9.0%
7/29/03 …the disturbing parallels between [1987] and now highlight some of the macro constraints to the current stock rally. -2.4% 0.8% 4.0% 11.9%
7/14/03 …after 18 months of aggressively (and profitably) timing the market with an ever-churning 401(k), I’ve bet it all on stocks and let it ride. -2.5% -1.3% 3.5% 9.7% +
6/3/03 This spring’s concurrent stock and bond rallies have been nothing short of a freak of nature, the financial equivalent of a snowstorm in July. 1.4% 2.3% 3.8% 15.5%
5/19/03 …[A]s the stock rally reached its crescendo a week ago, I…went from a 100% exposure to blue-chip stocks to a 27% bet on the relatively inexpensive foreign issues and a 73% money-market crouch…. I might wade back into equities at some point once all the technical omens line up right, or perhaps when the Federal Reserve stops acting scared. 3.3% 9.7% 7.6% 18.3%
4/28/03 What does seem to be in the cards is another test of the upper limit of the trading range established by the August and October rallies. Skeptics have recently noted that the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s VIX volatility index is at a 10-month low, but it can go lower still, to the depths reached in March 2002. When it gets there, the rally will be done… 1.8% 3.5% 8.6% 20.6%
4/14/03 …the dwindling pool of buy-and-hold investors desperately needs a strong profit recovery to counter the effect of declining earnings multiples. Sad to say, neither recent history not the near-term outlook offers much hope. 3.0% 6.1% 13.4% 28.2%
4/1/03 Earnings are weak, the economy’s worse and the new world order, such as it is, is in considerable disrepair. Sorry, Mom, I’m not buying. 2.3% 6.7% 13.5% 33.0%
3/18/03 This rally stinks of day-trading desperation, and is bound to come to the same unhappy end as its predecessors. None of which means the Dow can’t briefly get to 9000 or more. My 401(k) might even go along for the ride. But I know that patient bears will be waiting on the sidelines. 1.0% 1.6% 16.7% 28.1%
3/4/03 …if the market would just tank conclusively by Friday, it might get another crack at my retirement stash. -2.6% 7.2% 17.6% 40.7% +
2/18/03 After tossing the old 401(k) wholeheartedly into stocks two weeks ago on the premise that Iraq offered downside protection, I pulled it back out a week and several hundred lost dollars later. Now I’m just as confused as the rest, but at least the principal is safe. I’m waiting for that metal taste to make a comeback before jumping back in. -1.5% 2.7% 10.9% 34.4% +
2/4/03 …why did I just toss into the stock market’s murky depths 100% of the retirement savings…? …because I think…low returns are here to stay, making it all the more important to catch the odd bear-market rally. …the smart set expects history to repeat itself one more time with an equity rally as soon as the bombs start falling. I’m hoping to front-run that trend…[a]nd the day they hold that tickertape parade, I’ll declare victory and get out of stocks. -2.2% -3.1% 9.2% 34.7%
1/6/03 So count me out, for now. I started the year with my retirement kitty in a money-market fund, and won’t come out of hiding until I get a discount, greater security or a noticeable jump in profits. And I’m betting that the discount comes first. -0.3% -9.2% -5.4% 21.8% +
11/25/02 Tired of waiting for the next leg of the rally, I reduced my retirement plan’s exposure to stocks from 100% back down to 0% late Tuesday (really). Two days later, I was back up to 100%, having missed the Dow’s entire 4% leap and all of the Nasdaq’s 7% romp. Why buy high? To sell higher, of course. -1.3% -4.6% -11.3% 13.4%
10/28/02 …I’m betting heavily on another 5% to 8% short-term stock-market gain, without falling for the happy thereafter. The bulls have got momentum on their side. 2.0% 2.6% -3.6% 17.6% +
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