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Dow 6,000: Wild prediction or worthwhile caution?

Kevin Chupka
·Executive Producer/Writer

Much like the markets he predicts, Harry Dent’s track record has had its ups and downs. In the 80s he predicted Japan’s economy would begin to slow. In the 90s he said the Dow would surge to 10,000. Both prognostications were pretty dead on.

In the first decade of this century he threw out numbers like Dow 40,000 or even just 18,000. Neither materialized.

His most recent notes suggest a sadder state of affairs with the Dow plunging. His latest target is 5,500 - 6,000.

Dent uses demographics to make projections. For instance, here in the United states he tends to use 48 year-olds as his bellwether as people tend to spend the most around that time in their lives. When the number of 48 year-olds wanes the stock market goes with it. On top of that, he believes the current prosperity in the stock market is a bubble being filled by a stimulative Federal Reserve.

Related: Here we go again? Wall Street buying risky mortgages

Both those things are conspiring against us Dent believes. “Every bubble has taken [the market] to new highs - the 2000 tech top and the 2007 top...Now we’re saying we’re gonna top I think in late 2014 at just over 17,000 on the Dow.”

That, says Dent, is when the trouble begins. “Every crash has taken us to new lows,” he points out, “so the last crash took us down to 6,442 on the Dow and the next projection would be around late 2016, early 2017 somewhere around 5,500 - 6,000.”

Since the “once in a lifetime” tech bubble Dent says we’ve had a series of “secondary bubbles” noting that a spending spree by the baby boomer generation in the early 2000s led to the inevitable bursting of the credit bubble in 2008. Since then, he notes, “we have an artificial bubble that’s been created totally by government stimulus...If you lay over the Dow in the 90s bubble and the Dow since early 2009 they lay over exactly.”

Dent admits his call is “extreme” but offers this advice whether you believe his call or simply that a significant correction (but not a full scale crash) is on the way.

“You have to get out of stocks,” he says. “Stocks have bubbled again and when they go down they’re gonna go down hard. You get into cash, safe short term bonds...you just buy when things crash and you’ve made tons of money by buying stuff at 50, 60, 70 cents off as people did in the early 30’s and mid 70’s.”

Related: Why dollar bears have been wrong the past 5 years

He likes the safety of the U.S. dollar in times like this, just as he did in 2008 and 2009, noting the UUP (UUP) is a good way to play as opposed to piling into gold and other commodities which, he notes, didn’t fare as well over the same time period.

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