The idealogical battle for the hearts and minds and dollars of American investors during the '80s may well between the optimists and the pessimists.
The economic doomsayers are represented by the likes of Douglas Casey and Howard Ruff and by such as "Crisis Investing" and "How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years." At the other extreme is Jerome Tuccille.
"You have to believe the world will continue to survive," he said. "Fear and greed sell a lot of books, but they are basically telling the people the same thing I'm telling them."
An investment executive for Shearson, Loeb and Rhoades in New York, Tuccille is an unabashed optimist when it comes to the future of the American economic system and the opportunities it presents to investors.
"The doom-and-gloom message is getting tired now," he said. "The market is opening up now. There are more buyers who are willing to believe that the country will make it for another 10 years."
The titles of his books, "The Optimist's Guide to Making Money in the 1980's," "Mind Over Money" and the just-published "Dynamic Investing" (NAL Books, $9.95 ), reflect his upbeat investment philosphy.
Unlike Ruff, Casey and the others, Tuccille doesn't foresee the imminent collapse of the U.S. economy and the stock market.
He expects, instead a major new bull market that he says started last year and will go on to achieve new highs. He also sees overall inflation beginning to weaken. But most of all, he sees the forces of doom and gloom dissipating. "The mood of the country is improving," he said. "Interest rates will come down and the stock market will soar."
However, Tucille recognizes the fact that interest rates and inflation always will be subject to fluctuations brought on not only by economic policy but by events beyond anyone's control; hence the subtitle to "Dynamic Investing": The System for Automatic Profits -- No Matter Which Way the Market Goes.
The keys to Tucille's system are the "automatic trigger signals," economic warning flags that dictate which investment course to take.
For example, if the Dow Jones industrial average goes to about 950 and is "trending up," Tucille's advice is to "sell off more shares, so that you are holding roughly 20 percent of your original shares at this point. Get ready for total evacuation if the market breaks down below 900 again." If short-term rates level above 15 percent, it's time to "start buying utilities and bonds maturing no more than three years out." And if a liberal is elected president "get out of the stock market immediately," Tucille counsels.
Tuccille says his system has been proven to work and that it is designed to take advantage of different markets, from gold to money market funds. With stocks, Tucille advocates using options as a hedge.
His book also contains a list of recommended stocks. "For the most part . . . you should make considerable profits if you buy and sell these stocks according to the ATS," Tuccille writes.
His confident tone is not without foundation. In the "Optimist's Guide to Making Money in the 1980s," Tuccille compiled a list of 12 recommended stocks. The price of each stock rose, two split, several nearly tripled and one quadrupled in value.
Tuccille's system emphasizes flexibility and fluidity. "Money seeks out its best return," he said. "If you can get 15 percent on T-bills, who the hell needs stocks?"
"Dynamic Investing" is designed to "make the investor more independent," Tuccille said. "That's the way people have to start thinking."