“Let’s stipulate that neither I nor anyone else has privileged access to the future,” says Bill Miller in his second-quarter letter to shareholders, “so no-one knows for sure what is going to happen to stocks in the coming weeks and months. Still, there are some things that might help us sort through the differing opinions and probabilities.

“First, stocks go up most of the time because the economy grows most of the time, about 70% for both time series. So if you knew nothing else and someone asked what the chances were that stocks would be higher in any given year, the answer would be 70% plus...

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