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Birinyi: Market Hit Bottom Late 2008

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Jan 2009 10:41 AM

Money manager Laszlo Birinyi said the stock market hit its bottom late last year, and that he now sees "signs of a positive market."

"A few things caught our eye. One was that we started to have some very bad days in November but the market still recovered. On Dec. 5, the unemployment news was really terrible and yet the market recovered that day, with the S&P closing up 3.7 percent," the founder and president of Birinyi Associates told Barron's.

"To us, those are signs of a positive market where people are starting to look beyond the bad news."

Biryini said that the greatest decline in a bear market is at its end: Seventy percent of the recent decline occurred in its last quartile.

Birinyi said that many once-helpful indicators are not of much use, among them odd-lots — once used as an indicator of what retail investors were doing — and mutual fund cash holdings.

An indicator Birinyi does like is the number of stocks down 50 percent from their highs.

At the recent bottom, 322 of the S&P 500 stocks were down 50 percent from a year ago, an "extremely oversold condition when you consider that the previous high was 130 in July 2002," said Birinyi.

Small cap stocks, contrary to the received wisdom, will not lead the recovery, Birinyi said.

The money manager is not enthused about growth stocks, either, reckoning that brand names like IBM no longer command the attention they have in the past.

Stocks the money manager likes include GE — which boasts an 8 percent dividend — Amazon.com, and Hess.

A number of money managers have joined the market-bottom chorus lately.

"We've dialed up our equity exposure," Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist and director of asset allocation, RidgeWorth Capital Management, told The Wall Street Journal.

"We still have more dry powder and we expect we'll be using that."

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Money manager Laszlo Birinyi said the stock market hit its bottom late last year, and that he now sees "signs of a positive market." "A few things caught our eye. One was that we started to have some very bad days in November but the market still recovered. On Dec. 5, the...
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Wednesday, 07 Jan 2009 10:41 AM
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