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Martin Zweig, 70; analyst predicted 1987 stocks crash

NEW YORK — Martin E. Zweig, who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and whose newsletters influenced US investors for a quarter-century, died Monday at age 70, according to his firm, Zweig-­DiMenna Associates.

No cause of death was given.

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Mr. Zweig wrote ‘‘Winning on Wall Street’’ and published stock-picking newsletters such as the Zweig Forecast for 26 years. He cofounded Zweig-DiMenna Partners in 1984.

He had bought a 16-room apartment at Manhattan’s Pierre hotel in 1999 for $21.5 million, according to the New York Post. He also had a residence in Fisher ­Island, Fla.

‘‘He was a very fine technical analyst, also a very fine money manager, and he put those two together in a profitable manner,’’ said Kenneth Safian, the founder of Safian Investment Research Inc., who worked on technical analysis with Mr. Zweig. ‘‘He’s a very hard-working gentleman.’’

Mr. Zweig began his career in the 1970s writing newsletters, which became the Zweig Forecast from 1971 to 1997, the company said. In 1984, Mr. Zweig and Joe ­DiMenna founded Zweig-DiMenna Partners, their first long-short hedge fund, followed by The Zweig Fund in 1986 and the Zweig Total Return Fund in 1988.

A regular guest on the PBS television show ‘‘Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser,’’ Mr. Zweig was credited with developing the technical analysis tool known as the put-call ratio, according to his firm. The indicator plots bearish versus bullish options as a way of determining investor sentiment.

Mr. Zweig’s best-known call came during Rukeyser’s program on Oct. 16, 1987, when he predicted stocks were poised for a ‘‘vicious’’ decline reminiscent of the crash of 1929. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 508 points, or a record 23 percent, in the next session, now known as Black Monday.

‘‘I haven’t been looking for a bear market per se; really, in my own mind I’m looking for a crash,’’ Mr. Zweig said in the PBS interview. ‘‘I only look for a brief decline, but a vicious one.’’ The Dow declined 23 percent in October 1987 and climbed 2.3 percent that year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr. Zweig bought bearish options and advised readers of the Zweig Forecast to do the same before the 1987 crash. The strategy generated an 8.7 percent profit for the month and helped push his picks up 50 percent in 2007, according to a profile published on the website of his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

‘‘He was a pioneer in technical analysis,’’ said Richard Russell, editor of the Dow Theory Letters newsletter. Mr. Zweig was a ‘‘terrible worrier,’’ said Russell, who took over Zweig’s investment advisory service.

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