Malcolm Graham
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Stock-market crash of 2016: The countdown begins

Dow will drop 50% as market replays 2008, 2000 and 1929

Library of Congress

Crowd of people gather outside the New York Stock Exchange following the Crash of 1929.

It’s time to start the countdown to the crash of 2016. No, this is not a prediction of a minor correction. Plan on a 50% crash.

Most investors don’t want to hear the countdown, will tune out. Basic psychology. They’ll keep charging ahead with a bullish battle cry, about how the Nasdaq will keep climbing relentlessly to a new record above 5,048 ... smiling as they remember reading that a whopping 73 companies are now in the Wall Street Journal’s Billion Dollar Start-up Club, with Uber ($41 billion), SpaceX ($12 billion) and Snapchat ($10 billion). Hearts race even faster reading in Bloomberg BusinessWeek that “China’s IPO Boom Mints Billionaires” and Jack Ma’s Alibaba fortune is now valued at $35.1 billion.

Yes, technology IPOs are in the lead, and with all that good news, it’s easy to understand why investors tune out, don’t want to hear the warnings, no countdown to the 2016 crash.

But the crash of 2016 really is coming. Dead ahead.

Maybe not till we get a bit closer to the presidential election cycle of 2016. But a crash is a sure bet, it’s guaranteed certain: Complete with echoes of the 2008 crash, which impacted on the GOP election results, triggering a $10 trillion loss of market cap ... like the 1999 dot-com collapse, it’s post-millennium loss of $8 trillion market cap, plus a 30-month recession ... moreover a lot like the 1929 crash and the long depression that followed.

Plus cycles theorists warn that we dodged a crash in 2012-2013, thanks to the Fed’s stimulus and cheap-money polities. Or rather delayed it, which adds more power to the next one.

Why not sooner, you ask? Why not in 2015? Yes, Mark Hulbert’s already warned that the “stock market risk is higher today than it was in the dot-com era.” Yes, a dip is possible. MarketWatch’s Sue Chang writes of a 10%-20% stock-market correction by July.

But we also know markets are typically up the third year of a presidency. So if no crash is in the cards this year, then why bother with warnings and a countdown? Why bother building up the 2016 elections with lots of dark early warning signs, and doom-and-gloom warnings for the next 18 months?

Why? Simple, behavioral economists have long been telling us that investors will either choose to stay in denial till it’s too late, never having learned the lessons of history when the market collapsed in 2008, 2000 or 1929, when they collectively lost trillions. Or we know some investors really do want to heed the warnings, so they can plan ahead, avoid big losses, and take advantage of opportunities later, at the bottom.

Deja vu 2008: Watch another presidential hopeful collapse!

Let’s compare 2016 with earlier crashes: 2008 to 2000 to 1929, knowing all bulls drop into bears eventually. Basic cycles theory. And this next one will trigger losses bigger than 2000 and 2008. So bet against the house at your peril.

Jeremy Grantham’s already on record predicting that “around the presidential election or soon after, the market bubble will burst, as bubbles always do, and will revert to its trend value, around half of its peak or worse.”