By Vadim Pokhlebkin
-Stocks Open Down on J&J Earnings (Washington Post)
-European Stocks Surge; US Earnings Lift Mood (Wall Street Journal)
Earnings don’t drive stock prices. We’ve said it a thousand times and showed the history that proves the point time and again. But that’s not to say earnings don’t matter. When earnings give investors a rising sense of confidence, they can be a powerful backdrop for a downturn in stock prices. This was certainly true in 2000, as the chart shows. Peak earnings coincided with the stock market’s all-time high and stayed strong right through the third quarter before finally succumbing to the bear market in stock prices. Investors who bought stocks based on strong earnings (and the trend of higher earnings) got killed.
So if earnings don't drive the stock market's broad trend, what does? The Elliott Wave Principle says that what shapes stock market trends is how investors collectively feel about the future. Investors' mood -- or social mood -- changes before "the fundamentals" reflect that change, which is why trying to predict the markets by following the earnings reports and other "fundamentals" will often leave you puzzled. The chart above makes that clear.
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Robert Prechter, Chartered Market Technician, is the world’s foremost expert on and proponent of the deflationary scenario. Prechter is the founder and CEO of Elliott Wave International, author of Wall Street best-sellers Conquer the Crash and Elliott Wave Principle and editor of The Elliott Wave Theorist monthly market letter since 1979.