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Much advice, little accord on market's direction


AS THE STOCK market continues its wild fluctuations, there is no scarcity of advice. But there is no consensus.

Some samples:

"Those who are scared by this stock market turmoil don't have the right outlook. This may be the best time ever for bargain stock shopping." (Better Investing)

"Markets will continue to drop, rally, and drop ... as corporations report lower profits and investors ponder increasing P/E ratios and decide their stocks aren't worth keeping." (Stockscom Report)

"I don't think of myself as a stockholder, but an owner of a business. If it was worth $50 to own part of the business, buying it for $35 now is appealing." (Ken Janke, president, National Association of Individual Investors)

"The day after Greenspan's recent cut, bonds collapsed dramatically, a clear vote of 'no-confidence.' Recent bond behavior is a clear warning that the rest of the flock has been seen on the horizon, now headed for the NYSE." (Mercury Management Comments)

"Bears are still showing vicious-looking teeth, but bearish sentiment usually peaks at a market bottom. And although there aren't as many bears prowling as we would like, some classic bottom indicators have turned up, including bruins on the covers of both Time and Newsweek." (Smart Money)

"Stocks on average are still trading at high multiples of their earnings. The P/E ratio of the S&P; 500 index is 22, vs. a 'norm' of 14." (Jeff Madrick, editor, Challenge Magazine)

"Despite the recent rally, expect more earnings surprises to jar stocks." (Dow Theory Forecasts)

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