"A gauge of consumer sentiment tumbled in August to the lowest level since May 1980"So reads the headline in an article on marketwatch.com today. Wait a minute - 1980? Holy moly - that's a while ago! Before the Japanese tsunami, the PIGS, the Flash Crash, before the Great Recession, before 9/11, and before the panic of 1987. And that sentiment level is low indeed: 54.9.
So just out of curiosity, what happened to the market after May 1980? Well, here's the monthly Dow chart from back then:
As you can see, May that year the Dow opened at 817 and closed at 851. It then went on to rally straight up for the next two months, and then on up to 998 in April of 1981, a 22% gain
Of course a year later, it was right back to the 800 area (but 800 proved to be powerful support), and then in August 1982, the Dow took off on a year long rampage that took it even higher, to 1276 by November 1983.
In fact, if you look at the longer view, 1982 marked the beginning of the multi-year bull market that ended only in 1987 with the Dow at 2663. So that's what happened the last time consumer sentiment was in the toilet.
They say it's always darkest before the dawn (well actually, it's darkest in the middle of the night. Just before the dawn, the sky has begun to lighten noticeably). But anyway, I look at numbers like this and have to wonder purely on a contrarian basis if we may actually be going higher soon. Hmmm...