I have no money in the stock market.  I owned a tiny amount of Wachovia paper, given to me on the day of my birth, which I've always held onto for sentimental reasons but which is now more or less worthless after the company's collapse– the end of an era.  I also have no specialized insight into the market — otherwise I would have sold the Wachovia stock long ago.

Based on the above non-credentials I hereby offer my own personal market predictions, on the theory that the common-sense intuitions of an outsider are bound to be at least as reliable as the proven ignorance of the insiders.

The market will bottom out somewhere between five and six thousand points — closer to six.  I base this on a fact my friend Cotty reminded me of recently — the market stood at around six thousand points before the recent fantasy-based boom cycles, which are now over, and so is a fair measure of the real value of the shares.

When the market hits five thousand-plus, there will be a slight rebound — to somewhere between six and seven thousand, closer to six, where things will rest for the next five years or so, until we enter a new period of growth.

The logical strategy for current larger-scale investors is clear — have enough resources on hand outside the market to cover basic bare-bones expenses for five years, leave the remainder, if there is any, in stocks (assuming they're already there) and wait for the rebound.

Of course, it's always possible that there will be no rebound within that time frame.  If the market drops below five thousand, there will be no bottom — panic will rule and the next Great Depression will be upon us.  We'll be facing at least three decades of nightmare — unless we get really lucky and another world war pulls us out of the abyss ahead of the natural cycle.

You heard it here first.