"I am more positive about the next few years for the U.S. stock market than I have been since mid-1996," stock market prognosticator Don Hays told listeners on a First Union conference call Wednesday morning.
Last week, one of Mr. Hays' most reliable technical indicators flashed a buy signal for only the fourth time in 40 years. The former top strategist for First Union and J.C. Bradford & Co. said that the 10-day average of the Arms Index -- a ratio of advance-declines and up-down volume -- exceeded 1.50. The Arms Index, sometimes called the TRIN, is intended to measure how strongly trading volume goes into rising and falling stocks.
Now the president of Hays Advisory Group, a Nashville based money-manager and advisor, he is urging investors to ignore the "negatives that are being pushed today that are as ill-conceived as the positives of June of last year." Mounting popular warnings about economic sluggishness and a continued bear market should coincide with a bottom in the stock market, Mr. Hays suggested.
"I think there's a 50:50 chance we’re clearing the air for the next three to four years, like the period after the 1962 signal," he said, referring to the Arms Index' first signal prior to a four-year advance from 524 to 1,000 by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The other "buy" signals were registered in the fall/winter of 1974 and following the crash in 1987.
Today, Mr. Hays says he is seeing the level of fear that generally accompanies major lows. "They've been hitting the bids" trying to get out of stocks.
He recommends that investors weight their portfolios in favor of technology, health-care, and financial services companies.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up 32 points to 10,206, the S&P 500 (^SPC) was up 3.5 to 1161, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was up 3.7 points to 1,835.