Predicting the future is something I would never claim to do with any degree of confidence or accuracy. Often, the best way to predict the future is to look at historical data for trends and combine these data with current conditions. In fact, this is the type of methodology used to predict long-term weather events such as drought. And while the past might be the best indicator of trends to come, combining this historical data with current conditions is not always a reliable indicator of even the short-term future, much less the long-term future.
The U.S. stock market is a prime example of where we try to find accurate prediction models. It should be a simple task if we just look at the past trends and add the current data, we should be able to predict the future. Here we go: Did you know that when the first week in January is an up week for the stock market, we typically have an up year? Furthermore, when the entire month of January is up, which it was in 2004 (Dow + 0.3%, S&P + 1.7% and NASDAQ +3.0%), the market has been bullish for that year in 49 of the last 53 years since 1950, a predictability factor of 92.4 percent.
However, over the past 37 years, when the NFC wins the Super Bowl, which they did not this year (New England Patriots of the AFC beat the Carolina Panthers of the NFC), the stock market is up with an 82 percent predictability. Why, oh why, did the Panthers have to lose, causing my two favorite stock market indicators to contradict? Oh well, if I can find some loose change, I'll worry about where to put it when the time comes.
Where were we Oh yeah, weather and drought predictions. I don't know who you use as a weatherman (meteorologist?), but mine is lucky to get the 24-hour forecast right 50 percent of the time. That's why, I think, I may put more confidence in the stock market going up when the NFC wins the Super Bowl.
We all know that drought will occur sometimes, as will wet years, cold years, hot years, etc. I don't know what 2004 holds in store for the weather in fact, I've thrown my crystal ball away for good and vowed never to predict the weather for you again, not even with the use of my trusty persimmon seeds. But I will share with you my five weather-related strategies for 2004:
Just remember, seldom do we experience a normal year, so plan accordingly. Expect your forage production to be from 75 percent to 125 percent of normal.