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May 18 (Bloomberg) — Investors should sell U.S. stocks because the market is at risk of a “major crash,” Richard Russell, editor of the Dow Theory Letters newsletter, said in a note to subscribers today.
The decline would follow should the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Dow Jones Industrial Average fall below their May 7 levels, he said. They have risen 1.3 percent and 2.8 percent versus their closing levels that day.
“If I read the stock market correctly, it’s telling me that there is a surprise ahead,” Russell wrote. “And that surprise will be a reversal to the downside for the economy, plus a collection of other troubles ahead.”
The market started showing signs of deterioration in early April, including a shrinking number of stocks reaching 52-week highs and falling stocks outnumbering rising ones, he said. Russell, 85, has published Dow Theory Letters every three weeks since 1958 and posts daily market commentaries on his website.
Dow Theory, which stems from observations made by Wall Street Journal founder Charles Dow during the late 1800s, holds that moves by the transportation average must be “confirmed” by the industrial measure, and vice versa, to be sustained.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.9 percent during the four days that ended May 7, sinking to 10,380.43, the lowest level since Feb. 26. The transportation gauge closed at 4,298.12, down 11 percent in four days. Downgrades of Greece, Spain and Portugal helped trigger the decline as the prospect of a sovereign default in Europe undermined investor confidence.
“If the two averages violate their May 7 lows, I see a major crash as the outcome,” Russell wrote. With the exception of gold companies, Russell advised readers to “get out of stocks now, and I don’t give a damn whether you have paper losses or paper profits.”