As the stock market climbs to record levels this year, Michael P. Dever has walked out onto a very high limb.
And from his peculiar perch, he claims to have seen a bear -- a very big one.
The problem is that the investors below can't hear his warning shouts, the blood-curdling scream he let go last month, for example.
Mr. Dever is president of Brandywine Asset Management Inc., a 10-year-old West Chester, Pa., company that manages about $7 million, primarily in worldwide futures and international currencies.
Mr. Dever warned his clients Jan. 21 that the stock market bubble was about to burst.
To be more precise, he says, the air will be let out slowly -- over a period of years.
"We are currently witnessing one of the most incredible speculative bubbles of this generation . . . . We expect the current bull-market bubble to burst, resulting in a minimum 25 percent decline from the fast-approaching peak," he said in a two-page letter to clients.
Investors caught in the downward spiral will see the value of their stock investments plummet, and the overall market probably will suffer negative returns for at least three years, Mr. Dever predicted.
But before you rush to dump your shares, be advised that many other money managers see things differently. Even Mr. Dever concedes that his outlook is more bearish than most.