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Millions of skittish investors are bracing themselves for a meltdown based on everything from the perception that stocks are richly valued to very real concerns about political discord, rising interest rates, and dicey international relations.
Yet the exact opposite is far more likely to happen.
Counterintuitively, conditions are right for what could be a monster run into 2018 that takes the S&P 500 to 3,000 or even higher.
It's the kind of run I love to think about and an incredible profit opportunity for those investors who know where to look and what the market's telling 'em about the possibility.
I made my case briefly Monday during an appearance on FOX Business Network's "Varney & Co." and got so many emails asking for more detail that I've decided to dedicate today's column to providing just that.
Here's why I believe the S&P 500 could rally an impressive 17% by the end of this year.
Reason No. 1: The Herd Is Almost Always Wrong
First, millions of investors are bracing for doom and gloom.
Historically speaking, that's a dead giveaway and an ultra-reliable sentiment indicator that the opposite is far more likely to happen for the simple reason that the "herd" is almost always wrong.
Think back to November 1990 when bullish sentiment sat at an all-time low of 12%, according to the AAII Member Sentiment Survey. Kuwait had been invaded, Iraq wouldn't back down, oil prices were rising, and the U.S. economy was declining. Yet, 12 months later, the S&P 500 had tacked on 25.2%.
Or consider October 1990 that same year, when bearish sentiment peaked less than a month before bullishness hit its lowest point ever. Again, 12 months later, the S&P 500 had risen 25.6%.
Many investors fail to realize that excessive sentiment readings are frequently a precursor to market transitions, which are the exact opposite of the prevailing social mood at a specific point in time.
If people are overly bullish, the bears charge out. And if they're overly bearish, the bulls go on a stampede.
If you've ever heard me talk about why people always make the "right decision at precisely the wrong time" - meaning they sell when they should be buying and buy when they should be selling - this is what I'm referring to.
It's also why history shows very clearly that it's always better to "buy low and sell high" when it comes to big profits and the kind of life-changing Total Wealth you deserve. You have more upside that way.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the markets tend to overwhelm every last fiber of bearish input over time. So it's not like you're going to get taken to the cleaners even if you have the wrong perspective.
Case in point, there have been 35 corrections of 10% or more since 1950. And, 35 of 35 times, every single one of 'em has been a buying opportunity that erases every last penny of the losses that led to it.
Which is, again, why the data matters... and why you owe it to yourself to take emotions out of the equation as completely as possible when it comes to capturing really big winners and being a successful investor.
Despite commonly held wisdom to the contrary, the S&P 500 has spent three times as many days in bull market territory than in correction mode since 1950, according to Yardeni Research. And as long as capital continues to grow, that is far more likely to continue than falter.
My colleague, Tom Gentile, has been showing his readers how to use S&P 500 ETF trades to double their investments in as little as two days.
If you can spare just four-and-a-half minutes with your smartphone, you could be poised to do the same. Tom's "Money Calls" can lead to more double- and triple-digit gains, and more quickly, than anything I've ever seen. Learn more here...
Reason No. 2: Unlocking Vast Piles of Cash at the Stroke of a Pen
Second, the merest hint of actual tax reform will send markets screaming higher.
Critics don't believe this is possible, either, especially now that the markets have run up an incredible 23% since Trump's election on nothing more than hope and a bull market that's a whopping eight-and-a-half years old.
Think about that for a second. Then imagine what happens when there's actual reform.
According to Moody's, U.S. non-financial companies hold a staggering $1.84 trillion on their balance sheets, of which $1.3 trillion is held overseas. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), which has long been regarded as the poster child for tax avoidance, holds an estimated 47% of that all by itself.
It's a ginormous pile of cash that could be unlocked at the stroke of a pen.
We've seen this before, too.
In 2004, the Bush administration enacted a similar tax break and the IRS estimates that 843 companies brought back a combined total of $312 billion. Most of those companies, incidentally, were in the tech and healthcare sectors, which is highly likely to be the case this time around, too.
Passing the $4.1 trillion budget last week was an important first step because it formally kicks off the process needed to enact major tax reform legislation later this year.
Again, most people don't believe it will happen. There are huge disagreements about which rates to cut and how much, which deductions to ditch, and whether or not the tax package would be revenue neutral.
None of which matters.
What you need to focus on when it comes to big profits is that perception eventually becomes reality.
Reason No. 3: Money Is on the Move
Third, the economy is in a lot better shape than most people think.
Chances are you have just as hard a time believing this as I do. What's more, you know how hopelessly cooked government data is because we've talked about numerous examples here.
Yet money is on the move, and that's what matters.
Here are just a few of the data points I see every day that make the case...
About the Author
Keith is a seasoned market analyst and professional trader with more than 37 years of global experience. He is one of very few experts to correctly see both the dot.bomb crisis and the ongoing financial crisis coming ahead of time - and one of even fewer to help millions of investors around the world successfully navigate them both. Forbes hailed him as a "Market Visionary." He is a regular on FOX Business News and Yahoo! Finance, and his observations have been featured in Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and MarketWatch. Keith previously led The Money Map Report, Money Map's flagship newsletter, as Chief Investment Strategist, from 20007 to 2020. Keith holds a BS in management and finance from Skidmore College and an MS in international finance (with a focus on Japanese business science) from Chaminade University. He regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand.