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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Patricia Powell, Powell Financial Group.
Terror Abroad and Housing Slump in America: Will Stocks Stand Tall in 2008?
The Middle East rocked by the assassination of Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto. Meantime in America, as Wall Street dealt with the eruption of violence over there, bad news on the housing market sparked more fears of a recession. So will stocks be able to handle these problems and stand tall in 2008?
Gary B. Smith: The Pakistan story is huge for Wall Street. Remember – we've gone six plus years here in America without a terrorist attack (there have been attacks overseas however). I think people haven't factored in the possibility of another attack over here. This assassination just raises the specter of an attack in America. It also makes us remember that there are things other than domestic economic issues that affect the market. The economic underpinnings in America are pretty strong. All that taken into account, I am a “mega” bull on the market for 2008.
Patricia Powell: I think the impact of the Bhutto assassination is already over. We had close to a 200-point sell-off the day she was murdered, and Wall Street has a very short memory. We (the markets) have survived assassination attempts on our own presidents, and we will survive this one. This is more of a political story than an economic story. I am a bull on the market in 2008.
Tobin Smith: Pakistan has spent $100 million making sure its nuclear weapons are secure – trying to keep them out of the hands of Al Qaeda. Also, remember that whenever we've seen one of these horrific attacks overseas, it has presented a buying opportunity here. The big issue going forward is to keep those nukes out of the hands of Al Qaeda. I am a bull on the market in 2008.
Scott Bleier: The market has gotten used to the specter of terrorism. It is something that we now live with every day. But I do not think that we in America are prepared for another domestic attack. Should that happen, then all bets are off for the economy and the market. I am a bear on the market in 2008.
Pat Dorsey: The Bhutto assassination brings to light how much unrest there is across the world; it really shows how important geopolitical events are to Wall Street. For a while this summer, the international stories really took a backseat to what was going on in America (like the subprime mortgage situation). But now we realize that there is more going on around the world. I am a mild bull on the market for 2008.
The best and worst calls from the past year!
No. 5: Patricia Powell picked Peabody Energy (BTU ) on February 17, 2007.
UP 60 percent SINCE THEN
No. 4: Pat Dorsey picked Apollo Group (APOL ) on January 6, 2007.
UP 73 percent SINCE THEN
No. 3: Gary B. Smith picked Navteq (NVT ) on June 2, 2007.
UP 78 percent SINCE THEN
No. 2: Scott Bleier picked Central European Distribution (CEDC ) on May 5, 2007.
UP 81 percent SINCE THEN