ORLANDO, Fla. -- The best investors are those who closely observe what’s happening around them, according Raymond James’ chief investment strategist Jeffrey Saut.

In his opening remarks at the firm’s Financial Institutions Division Symposium, Saut noted that investors who acted on the observation in 2003 that Apple “was the only store in the mall that was always full” were handsomely rewarded. Apple, then at $9 a share, was on its way to $705 a share. “You didn’t need a Harvard MBA to figure that out,” Saut said.

Saut employs the Dow Theory, an early form of technical analysis that he learned from his father, to buy and sell stocks. According to that theory, the current market rally is a mere 24 months old, which is at odds with pundits who say the rally is 56 to 57 months old.

“Odds are very high that we’re in a new secular bull market,” Saut said.

Saut noted that a strong Dow Theory “buy signal” occurred in January, when the Dow Transportation average hit an all-time time. Other buy signals have occurred since then, he said. Saut partly attributes the current bull market to an industrial renaissance in the U.S. He pointed to a number of companies that are building or expanding plants, noting that the U.S. is still the biggest manufacturer in the world.

America’s growing energy independence is also contributing to the bullishness of the market, he said. Other contributors include the real estate market, which is rebounding, and strong auto sales.  “Things are getting better,” Saut said.

Saut believes that the U.S. is in the midst of an economic revolution akin to the Industrial Revolution that occurred from 1776 – 1826 and to revolution that occurred from 1876 – 1926 when radio, cars and electricity changed the American landscape. He believes that the latest revolution started in 1976 with the emergence of Microsoft and Apple and has “until 2026 for cutting-edge productivity-enhancing technologies to become fully absorbed into the economic system.”

The revolution, he said, “has years left to run.” 

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