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Psychics Take Crack at Economic Forecasts

It’s New Year’s Day, and everyone wants to know what’s ahead. Shall we call Chase Econometrics or badger Henry Kaufman?

Don’t be silly. California is just crawling with psychics. Better yet, they have fax machines. They work at this full time, and their clients include entrepreneurs, investors and movie stars. Why should we be any different?

Thus, in honor of the New Year I’ve impaneled the first Times Board of Psychics in order to bring readers crucial business news of the future.

Psychics aren’t licensed or regulated, of course, but our panelists were selected by a rigorous screening process that excluded most who failed to advertise in the Yellow Pages or someplace. Their findings weren’t just accepted at face value, either. No sirree. I checked them with astrologers.

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Our panel included a combination psychic-lawyer-realtor, a psychic MBA and a channelist who “threw ropes of light into the future” to retrieve unborn facts.

I’m pretty agnostic about all this, and our seers’ tendency to ask “Who’s calling?” or “What can I do for you?” didn’t inspire confidence. But this is Southern California; when in Delphi, consult an oracle. Besides, I’ll bet that our psychics do as well as anyone else when it comes to crystal-ball gazing, and anyway, as Doris Day so eloquently put it, “ Que sera, sera.

Now for the predictions:

The big news is that almost all the psychics expect the Persian Gulf crisis to erupt into armed conflict.

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“America will go to war in the Middle East,” Santa Monica channelist Jeffrey Cross predicts flatly. Lori King concurs. A desert psychic out near Tehachapi whose foreign affairs credentials include correctly predicting “the Iran-Contra Costa scandal,” she points to February and March as the most dangerous months.

Several psychics thought the conflict would fall short of a full-blown war, however, and our seers were mixed about how business might be affected. “If we go to war, it’ll be a boon to the economy,” says Randal Clayton Bradford, a Marina del Rey psychic.

More bad news: The psychics and astrologers are almost unanimous about higher unemployment in 1991. “Oh, my God, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” warns Encino psychic Elaine Sherman. Suzanne, a Sherman Oaks psychic who won’t give her last name, adds, “Lots of people are going to become homeless.”

Others were less pessimistic but still projected a slight increase in joblessness. Bradford, for example, sees things picking up around March. (He says he does lots of business consultations, by the way. His number is (213) REALITY.)

Judging by our panel, there’s no clear trend in the stock market. Some said it would seesaw, perhaps wildly, but few could make out a clear pattern.

One who did was Larry Pesavento, a Pismo Beach, Calif., “astro-historian” who uses astrology to time stock, bond, currency and commodities trading. His monthly newsletter says things such as “Mars definitely rules the Treasury bond market.”

Pesavento says Jupiter is in retrograde for the next few months, which is bad news. He sees stocks “probably quite a bit” lower in 1991 as part of “an old-time bear market” marked by sharp valleys and various breaks culminating in 1993, when Uranus, Jupiter and Neptune will be aligned. Then things should start to improve.

Pesavento sees good prospects in the grain markets, though, as well as strong gains in pork bellies and live cattle prices in 1991.

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But he says real estate will be as bad as junk bonds for a while, and this view was shared by many of the psychics, including Bradford, who is also a licensed realtor.

Georgia Stathis, a Pleasant Hill, Calif., astrologer and business adviser with an MBA from Pepperdine, says lots of planets are in Capricorn right now, a great time to buy before things turn around in the spring of 1992. (She’s also a realtor.)

Meanwhile, she says, after February we’ll see “unbelievable advances in telecommunications and computers.” She also sees a move to quality in 1991, on Wall Street and elsewhere, and strength in quarrying and rock-related businesses and the food industry, especially frozen foods and ice cream. “Capricorn rules ice and snow,” she explains.

Several seers offered big-picture predictions that we’ll mostly skip. Among the most relevant: King says telegraphically that “secret agreements come to light between Saudi Arabia and our failing banking systems this spring and summer,” Malibu psychic Averi Torres sees an unsuccessful attempt on President Bush’s life and Stathis predicts an exodus from California during the next couple of years.

Some psychics had views on specific industries--"Water is a wonderful investment,” says Torres--as well as companies. Cross says his spirit guide sees AT&T;'s proposed acquisition of NCR Corp. as a mistake. Among the Big Three auto makers, the spirit likes Ford best and says newspaper stocks are “basically bad.”

Claudette Runyan, a Manhattan Beach psychic, sees McKesson Corp. talking acquisitions around November and a new ad slogan or agency for Bank of America (for whom the word “consolidate” comes up). She says Apple Computer will struggle with whether to add a new product or system separate from computers.

So much for legitimate prognosticators. For a little old-fashioned shamanism, try the latest report of the UCLA Business Forecasting Project, which assumes no war.

Using WEFA Group software and models, it predicts a short recession through the first half of the year. Unemployment will reach 7.1% in 1991, crude oil will hit $20 a barrel by the second quarter and inflation should ease. “The bleak evidence . . . strongly suggests that California will participate fully in the national downturn,” says David G. Hensley, acting director of the forecast.

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California! Now what kind of hocus-pocus is that?


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