I have to say the stock market is now stuck in a wide, very ragged trading range. It’s being supported by the Bernanke Put (just like the old Greenspan Put when stocks go down, the Fed steps in with something, interest rate cuts, bail out deals, etc). This Federal Reserve Bank has even extended its powers to pick and choose which companies are vital to keeping the financial system from freezing up, like investment bank, Bear Stearns. So stocks have a big force on their side. But stocks are also being held back by a complete loss of confidence by investors and bankers alike. And until confidence returns its going to difficult to make any upside progress. So we’re stuck in the middle (with you). I would like to predict that this current standoff will eventually get resolved to the upside but I don’t believe that. From my studies of history, like a look back at the Bank Panic of 1907 and its chart, a daily assessment of investor confidence and a look forward at what’s problematic issues are coming down the road later in 2008 and in 2009, I have to still judge that time is working against us. In other words we’re now in a bear market, one in which as time passes things get worse, not better. Many sectors of the economy are in sad shape, especially housing and financials, and their stock prices in turn are deeply in bear markets. The remaining currently strong industry sectors, like commodities, agricultural stocks, export stocks, global infrastructure plays, which are now benefiting from long established momentum and being late business cycle industries will eventually get hit as well. Schwartz View: Unhappily, I see this bear as being ornery, powerful and long lasting, maybe even the first real Papa Bear market to come along since the early 1970s. That would mean two to three years in duration and we’re still less than one year into it. So keep the hatches battened down.