Should we listen to a bond king trying to time stocks?
FORTUNE — Bill Gross, manager of PIMCO’s $270 billion bond mutual fund—the world’s largest—and known more appropriately as the “Bond King,” is now plying his trade in stocks. Specifically, he’s calling their death. On Tuesday, in his monthly investment letter, Gross concluded that “the cult of equity is dying” and went on to say the stock market resembles little more than a Ponzi scheme—the market being totally separated from reality. The Wall Street Journal ran with the headline, “Bill Gross: Stocks Are Dead.”
But even the Bond King needs to watch his back every now and then. Soon after, the researchers at Birinyi Associates compiled more than a decade of Gross’s stock calls, and it’s not pretty. Timing the stock market is one of life’s more difficult pursuits, but Gross has been trying, and mostly failing, for a while. Here are his calls, color-coded for negative, positive, and neutral calls against the S&P 500 index. (The first positive comment occurred in October 1999.)