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After a 15-year cooling-off period, 1980s stock-market guru Robert R. Prechter Jr. is back with this month's No. 9 hardback, Conquer the Crash. Boy, is it a downer: Prechter foresees a three-digit Dow and a depression perhaps worse than the one that gave us Hoovervilles. Woe be anyone with money in stocks, bonds, most commodities, or real estate. It's easy--and perhaps only too human--to dismiss such a dire scenario. Yet Prechter lays the basis for his forecast far more reasonably than did, say, former Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget when he predicted that would soar--which it promptly did. In Prechter's view, human emotions ebb and flow like waves, sweeping along whole economies. His is a deterministic scheme, and now that the emotional tide is ebbing Prechter says risk-averse investors have few choices other than T-bills or, better yet, short-term Swiss government securities, plus a smattering of precious metals. For those hoping to profit from calamity, he offers a menu of mutual funds that go up when stocks turns down. You needn't buy this extreme view to find the book worth your while.

By Robert Barker

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