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Conquering Fear in Trading

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November 1, 2002

More Pain, How Much?

By Kathryn M. Welling

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Phil Erlanger is a rarity. A market seer who has been more right than wrong this year. The independent Boston-based technician and proprietor of, an institutional service with a retail offshoot of growing popularity, generously shared his thoughts. -KMW

Wednesday [10/9/02] was a fun day in the market - for bears. Reduced Maria to babbling about the sort of valuations that should excite investors with 10-15 year horizons. Then came Thursday's rally -

It is pretty interesting. Going down is good for me. But it seems to be doing so in measured steps. Definitely acting like a secular bear market.

You've been saying that perhaps the "big barf" bottom so many are looking for wouldn't happen - just because it's so fervently hoped for.

Well, I think we're actually getting a "big barf" now. It's just not going to be evidenced in the way we are used to seeing it in a bull market. I do ultimately think that there will be one day when the market just goes "Bleeeech" and then comes back. But by then, people will be so disgusted that they won't care. And that's the beauty of it. But this water-torture, 100, 200 points a day down, peppered with a couple of days that are up, is driving most people nuts. The clouds are rather dark and voluminous. But at the same time, we are starting to get some pretty serious numbers on the volatility indices again. Tuesday we definitely had a barf mode in some individual stocks. There are ebbs and flows. This is the ebb. We'll get past it, but there will be pain. My point is that if you are on the right side of this, you are loving it. I have lots of institutional clients - and 11,000 retail subscribers - who are loving it. Yet I'm still hearing on the TV-what's her name, the Money Honey, say, "You should be investing for the long term. 10-15 years. This one-year, two-year stuff is no good."

That's when I barfed.