Monday, 1 December 2008

TSX Prediction Survey Results Are In - Is The Crowd Wise?

Thank you to those 22 intrepid souls who dared to predict where the bottom of the current stock market slump might end up.

A three-word summary of the survey opinion is "watch out below!". Though we are substantially above the low of 7724 set when I started the survey - at least as of right now the TSX Composite is around 8640 - pessimism, or is it hard-nosed realism, reigns. The median and the average of votes was that the TSX will fall to 6000 before we reach the base of the abyss. That's more than 30% down from now.

This post's title refers to the popular book by James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, in which he gives numerous examples where taking the average of estimates from independent, diverse sources can give better predictions than those of experts. Part of the problem with the market these days however is a seeming lack of independence because everyone is tainted by a common negativity. Is our survey "crowd" wise or are we just a mob carried away by our own pessimism to a form of group-think?

We'll find out for sure within the next few years, at which point, if the survey prediction proves correct, I'll write another post claiming credit for how wise the readers of this blog are! ;-)

I'm not about to short the TSX, though. I'll just stick with my asset allocation and wait it out because in five to ten years the market will have recovered. That's my prediction.

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