After the tax-selling decline, market may be poised for new gains
Scrooge came sooner than expected on Wall Street this year - mainly because of tax selling and jitters over interest rates. But by early January the market should be moving ahead again.
The underlying market trend, many investors and their advisers say, remains bullish. In fact, the dip in stock prices in recent days, according to some, represents an opportunity to buy at lower prices in anticipation of a rally that should occur by January.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed Friday at 1,2xx.xx, down xx.xx points for the week. The future level of interest rates, owing to the federal budget deficit, apparently bothered many investors. Short-term rates rose a quarter-point late in the week.
Looking beyond the day-to-day worries of savants on Wall Street, however, many analysts remain optimistic about the course of the market into 1984 - barring any major economic or political surprises. A year-end assessment of the economy and the stock market by directors of most of the nation's major no-load mutual funds concurred that the economy will continue to expand in '84, though perhaps at a slower pace; interest rates may fall slightly; and stock prices should advance.
G. Kent Sorey, at Analytic Investment Management of Irvine, Calif., believes interest rates should ''decline one to two percentage points . . . until business borrowing expands late in the year.'' John C. Bogle of the Vanguard Group of Valley Forge, Pa., says that ''the outlook for interest rates and, thus , fixed-income securities is good.'' Mr. Bogle sees ''the potential for reasonable growth in stock prices in the coming year,'' especially with long-term, conservative investments. High-technology issues might still be fairly unpopular, he says.
There are just as many economists who expect interest rates to remain the same - or even drop - as economists who expect an increase. But given current uncertainties about the economy, it has been easier for a pessimist to decide to sell than for an optimist to buy.
''We've been going through a typical first half of December,'' says Robert Walsh of the Rotan Mosle brokerage firm in Houston. ''Institutional and retail investors are confused, and such confusion usually precedes a major turn. This turn will be upward.''
Mr. Walsh sees trading volume in particular as an important indicator of the market's strength, and he notes that it has averaged around 100 million shares the past two weeks, as opposed to 90 million or less in the months before.
The downturn in the market, he says, can be attributed to blue chip stocks, which constitute the DJIA. Smaller-capitalization issues, which had experienced the brunt of the seven-month correction (that is, the temporary downturn in the bull market), have been improving. Walsh says blue chips should recover shortly.
''Just when everybody is scared, that is when the market is about to turn around,'' he says.
Norman G. Fosback, a publisher of three financial newsletters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., notes that stocks that have been depressed the past couple of weeks due to tax selling (in which stocks are sold to achieve capital gains or losses for the tax year) will rebound the fastest during what should be a very buoyant time ahead. Technical indicators noted in his Market Logic newsletter, he says, suggest remaining ''fully invested,'' and his monitoring of insider trading by corporate executives also indicates bullishness.
One development that could upset the '84 market, however, would be a political surprise. Robert J. Nurock, publisher of the Astute Investor newsletter of Payoli, Pa., points out it is possible that Ronald Reagan might not run for reelection. Investors, in such a case, would attempt to hedge against new economic policies that his successor might pursue - and markets might fall as a result.
Short of that, analysts say, the market should be strong in 1984, beginning with a traditionally strong January.