LAST week was an interesting one in the markets. By Wednesday, the S&P 500 had fallen nearly 10% from its peak of 2 019 on September 19, losing more than 4% of its value from the Tuesday high to the Wednesday low. By Friday, though, it had rebounded to close 1% down for the week.

The JSE pretty much followed suit, having fallen nearly 12% from its high of 52 324 in July to a low of 46 068 by Thursday, and bouncing back to a high of 47,884 on Friday, to close 1.5% up for the week.

The gold price, which had fallen from a high of $1 400/oz in June to a low of $1 162 last month, was back at $1 295 on Monday before again dropping to below $1 224. Oil fell 10% on the prior month, before recovering a little.

Needless to say, the "experts" had a field day, with the inevitable prognosis for the future. Among the more popular explanations for why the US equity market won’t crash:

• There’s no recession in sight. "This is a ‘panic attack’, not a bear market in stocks," said Howard Gold at MarketWatch. "Bear markets coincide with recessions, and we’re not even close to one."

• The Federal Reserve is still America’s friend, as demonstrated by comments on Thursday by an official that the central bank should extend a crisis-era bond-buying programme that was meant to end this month.

• Sentiment is still skittish. "Market sentiment at the top is typically a lot more bullish. We’re not there yet. It only feels toppy," said Brendan Connaughton, investment chief of ClearPath Capital Partners.

• Markets aren’t cheap but they’re not crazily overvalued either. As CNN Money’s Paul La Monica said: "The S&P 500 is currently trading at 15 times 2015 earnings estimates, roughly in line with what many strategists view as fair or full value for the market."

• Corrections have now happened. One of the bears’ arguments about this market is that there hasn’t been a big pullback in a while, but that’s (apparently) no longer the case.

And, of course, there were just as many reasons as to why a crash is inevitable:

• Global growth prospects keep revised down and little more can be done to boost activity.

• The threat of deflation. This is already a reality in some countries such as Spain and Sweden, and looming large for the eurozone.

• The Federal Reserve must eventually begin to tighten policy.

• Corporate profit margins (which have been at record levels) have to eventually return to "normal".

• Ebola. The prospect of a global pandemic is bad for certain stock market sectors but more generally leads to a dampening of overall market confidence.

• There may be any number of other reasons why our own market might crash. Or not.

The point being there are good reasons to ignore the "‘experts" and think for yourself. Especially when it comes to the more popular whizzes, such as CNBC’s Mad Money show host Jim Cramer.

Last Monday, Cramer warned viewers that US equities are "a treacherous market — which couldn’t hold even after the Fed indicated there is no hurry to raise rates", and went so far as to give them a checklist for believing in a sustainable rally.

Top of the list was the containment of Ebola. "Ebola is bringing a sense of panic, especially when it’s the lead story in the Wall Street Journal," he said. "If there is another US Ebola victim, we could be down even worse from these levels."

Number two on the list was the need to level the playing field. Cramer thought it was time all stocks got hammered, not just industrials and oils. Number three, speculation needs to be wrenched out of the market. Number four, oil needed to find its footing.

"Normally it would be terrific if oil were going lower, but in the environment of Ebola-constrained travel, oil has to find its footing … besides, the bounce in oil futures won’t be long-lasting," said Cramer.

Number five, stabilisation of the giant tech wreck.

"It was a big surprise when investors learnt semiconductors had not done well in September …"

Number six, Europe. An end to Russian sanctions over Ukraine; simultaneously, German Chancellor Angela Merkel needed to say: "We are willing to run a deficit to get Europe growing again." The danger being that the dollar will stay strong and earnings weak.

Number seven, earnings need to keep coming through. There "needs to be beats and raises", said Cramer. Number eight, the "tech damage" needs to run its course. Number nine, China has to come out with a dramatic stimulus plan that requires raw commodities to be bought.

"That doesn’t appear to be on the cards. But investors really do need a rally in commodities as it seems we are headed into a worldwide recession that will overshadow the strength of the US economy."

Number 10, the Islamic State crisis, which "must show signs of being stopped … (as) the potential fall of Baghdad would be a major blow to US foreign policy and consumer confidence".

"The bottom line is pretty clear: We need these 10 boxes to be checked if we’re ever going to get a rally that is genuinely stable."

The point being there are good reasons to ignore the "‘experts" and think for yourself. Especially when it comes to the more popular whizzes, such as CNBC’s Mad Money show host Jim Cramer.

By Friday, however, all the boxes had apparently been checked when he called a market bottom and said "it was now safe to buy again".

What, the Ebola crisis is over? you may be asking. No, "there won’t be a true end to the Ebola scare until a vaccine is created”, said Cramer, "but President (Barack) Obama has provided the country with assurance when he appointed Ron Klain the ‘Ebola Czar’".

Speculation was "wrenched out" when Netflix dropped 19% on Thursday. Check! Oil found its footing when there was "final capitulation of those who had been hanging on for a bottom". Check! And although the market was not yet in the clear on tech stabilisation, or Europe and China, Cramer thinks "there could be progress" on all of these issues and so, check! Check! Check!

The Islamic State doesn’t seem to matter any more (wasn’t mentioned) while positive earnings reports from General Electric, Honeywell and Morgan Stanley gave investors "much-needed positive news". "There could be earnings disappointments going forward," said Cramer, but he’s "optimistic". And so, check!

Et voilà.

"I can only conclude from all of these checked boxes that we have an investable bottom on our hands and, at last, it is safe to do some buying," said the Mad Money host, before adding: "The biggest thing to fear now may be fear itself."

That, and his type of advice, of course.

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