Have We Hit The Bottom?

By Keith Fitz-Gerald
Investment Director
Money Morning/The Money Map Report

Since March 17th, when the S&P 500 tested a low of 1256.98, the markets have traded higher.

As a result, we've received lots of email from readers concerned about the same thing:

"Have we hit the bottom?"

We don't know.

But what we do know is that what happened three days later offers a tantalizing look at what could be a very bullish possibility.

Let me explain.

On March 20th, the S&P 500 Index rose 2.30%, while gold futures dropped -2.5%. Such big disparate moves hardly ever happen in isolation, let alone at the same time. When viewed against the annals of market history, the moves are an anomaly.

As such, they're worth noting - and further study. And that got me wondering.

How often have such moves happened in the past? And, more importantly, are the markets likely to demonstrate a bullish or bearish bias after they happen?

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According to Logical Information Machines (www.lim.com), a company that tallies and analyzes this sort of thing, there have been 23 prior occurrences of the S&P 500 rising more than 1% on the same day gold futures dropped by more than 2.5% (omitting repeat occurrences within 10 days).

One hundred percent of the time - or 23 out of 23 occurrences if you'd prefer to think about it that way - the S&P 500 has shown a distinct bullish bias that peaks 100 trading days after the "event."

How bullish?

LIM data suggests that the index's average overall return during that timeframe has been 11.6%. Based on the March 20th close of 1329.51, that indicates an S&P 500 price target that could be as high as 1483.73 by August 12, 2008.

We'll take that with a big grain of salt, as we're sure you also will. But at the same time, we'll note that the two most recent occurrences prior to March 20, 2008 for this very bullish set up were 1/17/91 and 3/13/03 - dates which, if you look back through your market history books, preceded two of the strongest bull runs in recent memory.

The bottom line is that while we can make the case that the markets will go either way in the next 100 days based on any number of factors, the data suggests the possibility of a move we don't want to miss.

After all, as we say so often:

"It's not the market timing that matters... it's the time in the markets that's critical."