The other day, I read an article at seekingalpha.com by Kunal Vakil, titled "Stock Markets Nearing Important Bottom." That's a tantalizing headline, isn't it? The thought that our market's downturn might be over is certainly welcome. (Note that it really shouldn't be, if we're still actively investing in the market for a far-away retirement. If so, then a swooning market means stocks are on sale and everyone should want as much time as possible to get money into the market before it goes up.)

But back to Vakil. His article had me shaking my head a good bit. Why? Read this: "The stock market is nearing what I think to be a very important bottom. ... I will be a heavy buyer from 1200 on SP all the way down to 1182 for an intermediate term (9 months to 18 months) hold."

Whaaa? He's clearly an investor who subscribes to the technical analysis school. Thus, he looks for meaning in graphs and charts of stock (and market) price moves. As an example, at the technical site stockta.com, here are some stocks recently noted for their "short-term bullish breakout" potential:

  • Zix  (NASDAQ:ZIXI)
  • VeraSun Energy (NYSE:VSE)
  • Temple-Inland  (NYSE:TIN)
  • Stericycle  (NASDAQ:SRCL)
  • Maxwell Technologies  (NASDAQ:MXWL)
  • IKON Office Solutions (NYSE:IKN)

Will these stocks go up or down over the next few days or months? I have no idea, but doesn't it make more sense to invest based on sound business practices?

Many people will defend technical analysis, but to some of us, it's a bit confounding. For example, it seems strange to be planning to buy shares "all the way down to 1182" -- that seems overly precise, given that we can't know just what the market will do at any time.

Here's where he got the 1182: "1182 represents the 50% retracement of the five-year bull market run from the March 2003 lows to October 2008 top on the S&P 500. This market could run as low as 1165 ..." Again, he's applying rules of thumb developed from past market performance to current prices, when there's no guarantee that the future will look like the past.

Let's face it -- no one can consistently, correctly predict the market. If all these technical predictions were true, scads of billionaires in Forbes magazine would have traded their way to the top via technical analyses.

You can learn all about a vastly different investing style via our Motley Fool Inside Value newsletter. A30-day free trial will give you access to all past issues and all recommendations of seemingly undervalued stocks.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.