Wall Street `super bull' predicts Dow will double by 2007

THE DOW JONES, the world's leading equity index, is set to more than double to up to 25,000 points by 2007, according to Ralph Acampora, one of Wall Street's most respected stock- market gurus.

Mr Acampora, technical analyst with the US insurer Prudential Securities, yesterday predicted that low inflation and strong economic growth will prolong the US markets' bull run well into the next millennium.

However the analyst, nicknamed "Super Bull" for his optimistic views on the stock market, said that he was considering reducing his 1999 Dow forecast of around 12,000 points after the recent slide in US share prices. The Dow lost more than 500 points last week on fears of a US interest- rate hike. It rebounded yesterday to close 24.06 points higher at 10,303.39. But Mr Acampora, in London as part of a European lecture tour, said that concerns over monetary policy, the US trade deficit and the millennium bug could cause other falls in New-York traded stocks.

"If [yesterday's] rally cannot be sustained then I might just move my 12,000 year-end target to next year," he said.

The Prudential strategist predicted that the UK market would also be depressed in the run-up to the new millennium. "I don't see the UK reaching new highs before the end of the year," he said. But Mr Acampora maintained that short-term slides would not stop equities' relentless upward march.

His theory, soon to be explained in a book provisionally called Mega Markets, is that the external conditions are ideal for a surge in US equity prices.

He argued that the combination of world peace, low inflation and high productivity was set to boost earnings of the majority of US companies and send their share prices through the roof.

"God bless us. We all live in a great place. We have peace, technology and low inflation ... I think the Dow could reach 20-25,000 points within five to eight years," he said.

Mr Acampora believes that it is time to buy technology stocks, taking advantage of the recent weakness in their share prices. However, he advised investors to steer clear of retailers due to the uncertainties over consumer spending, and airlines, given the recent spike in fuel prices.

The analyst dismissed the fear - expressed by a growing number of experts - that, after nearly two decades of bull markets, global equities are heading for a crash. "That word is not in my vocabulary," he said.