By Chris Conetzkey

Des Moines Business Record Editor


We received an interesting call yesterday from a former keynote speaker at our 2009 Economic Forecast event, which took place in the wake of the economic collapse the previous fall. John Stoltzfus, now the chief market strategist at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in New York City, was trying to find a video we had taken of his keynote address at our event on Jan. 20, 2009, which also happened to be the morning of President Barack Obama's inauguration.


Stoltzfus teaches two courses at New York University's School of Continuing Professional Studies, and wanted to show the video to the classes because he felt his predictions on what the economy would do in the coming years were spot on. After some digging, I found an article about the event and also the videos.


I wasn't working for the Business Record at that point, but I remember the fear that was permeating everywhere. I was six months from graduation at Iowa State University, was editor-in-chief at the Iowa State Daily, and didn't have a single job prospect. Perhaps, had I heard Stoltzfus' positive outlook on how the economy would recover, I would have been slightly more optimistic.


In his remarks, he said, "The U.S. stock market could start moving higher by the end of this quarter in anticipation of a general economic recovery starting in 2010."


At that point the Dow Jones Industrial average was around 8,200 and dropping quickly. The Dow bottomed out at 6,626 on March 6, 2009, and has been steadily rising ever since. Today the Dow is at 15,530.


Stoltzfus was speaking at Hoyt Sherman Place, a building that was constructed in the boom period of 1923, and he compared the situation in 2009 to the Great Depression.  


"After a very rough period, fabulous things happened for the United States," he said. "All of that was very survivable. So don't get too caught up in the current negative situation."


I'll share a few links to the article - which also has predictions and thoughts from panelists Joseph Folsom, Peter Orazem, Tom Root and David Vaudt - and to the video of the event.


Watch the Video: Part 1 | Part 2


Read the article: Click here


I've always had a passion for history, and Stoltzfus' phone call gave me a chance to pause, glance back and see just how much things have changed in the years since that tumultuous time.


"As a financial professional, I will never forget that day in Iowa or the events in the financial markets surrounding that period of time," Stoltzfuz said.