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Favorite Professor

12/12/2012

When I was studying at Wharton, my favorite professor was Dr. Jeremy Siegel, author of The Future for Investors, and I have followed him closely ever since.

In his latest commentary, he thinks that, while there are problems with the latest Jobs Report, it is clear that the economy continues to improve.

More interestingly, he believes the odds of resolving the Fiscal Cliff before December 31st are 2-1 in favor of resolution and a 90% probability of resolution before January 31st — before damage to the economy becomes significant.

Dr. Siegel is also a well-known bull and believes the Dow could jump 500-1,000 points, if there is “a deal that comes half way to Obama’s tax rates.”

There is a certain euphoria building about resolution of the Fiscal Cliff problem.  Both the Finance Minister of Australia and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, have predicted the U.S. will return to its traditionally dominant role in the world economy, with our “fiscal and moral authority restored” — when, not if — we avoid the Fiscal Cliff without “kicking-the-can.”  So close . . . yet, so far!

I am beginning to lean in that direction as well.  A few months ago, I wrote about the uncertainty of three wet blankets on the U.S. stock market, i.e., the election, the Fiscal Cliff, and the European Financial Crisis.  (Uncertainty keeps the stock market down.)  We have now survived the election, and it looks increasingly likely we can avoid the Fiscal Cliff.  In addition, while it is very subtle, the European Financial Crisis is morphing from a scary financial crisis into a routine recession.  If so, we will have thrown off the three wet blankets — finally — and may be ready to grow again.

The irony is that 92 companies in the S&P 500 have already lowered their profit estimates for this quarter, compared with only 25 that have raised them.  That ratio of 3.7 to 1 is the worst in eleven years — hardly a bullish sign.  So, who is right — all those corporate officers or my old professor?

Keep your fingers crossed that my old professor is right and the Dow jumps 500-1,000 points!

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