Joe (the Messiah) Granville correctly predicted a March massacre in the stock market. Only it's not the market that's getting killed -- it's his own clients who followed his totally terrible advice.
Since early January, Granville has been telling his clients "to sell everything and go 100 percent on the short side of the market." In other words, his advice was to bet your money that stocks would go lower rather than higher.
He was dead wrong. The market has held up around the 1,000 level, as measured by the Dow Jones industrial average. What's more, many individual stocks have moved dramatically higher.
So anyone who followed his advice is now in the hole for big bucks.
Some of Granville's closest followers among the brokers fear they may be all washed up with many of their clients who reportedly face hundreds of thousands of margin calls on hefty short positions.
One such broker told a source: "I feel like committing suicide."
In his March 14 letter to his 15,000 customers, Granville recommended 16 stocks to sell short. As of March 25, all but one of them was up, meaning that anyone who bet with Granville is a loser.
The increases among the 16 stocks range from about one percent to more than 15 percent.
Even the single stock that is down is a special case. It's OKC Corp., which is in liquidation, and is trading in a very volatile way. In a single session, OKC often moves 10 points -- in either direction. On March 25, it was down 2 3/8.
Some examples of Granville's bad calls since March 14 include Computer Vision, which since then is up 12 3/4, Boise Cascade, which is up 4, and PPG, up 6, as of March 25.
That means if you went short of 100 shares of Computer Vision, for instance, you would have lost more than $1,200 in less than two weeks.
And in the case of New England Nuclear, which is up 2 3/4, the company has an agreement to be acquired by Du Pont Co. The takeover could send the stock even higher.
The usually loquacious Granville and his usually available son Blanchard ducked our calls this week.
In Granville's latest market letter, he led off with this boast: "My body is warm; I'm still breathing; I'm not dead."
Some of his clients wish they could say the same thing.