Summary: U.S. markets will correct 10% before rallying due to fed rate cuts; oil permanently higher; China markets tank 20%. Faber Says U.S. Stocks Suggest `Start of Bear Market' (Update1) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aH4g9qcnPxvo&refer=home By Eric Martin and Ellen Braitman March 29 (Bloomberg) --The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is more likely to fall than rise above its six-year-high reached Feb. 20 because the threat of faster inflation and slower growth persists, said Marc Faber, an investor who predicted the stock market crash in 1987. ``We're right where the market would usually be at the start of a bear market,'' Faber said in an interview from Copenhagen. ``Financial stocks are not performing well and this is usually a bad indicator for the market.'' A measure of financial shares has retreated 5.9 percent since Feb. 20. Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth- biggest U.S. securities firm by market value, led the losses. Inflation and rising oil prices may restrain economic growth and keep stocks from completing a rebound from the Feb. 27 rout that sent the S&P 500 to its worst plunge in four years, Faber said. ``What the government publishes as inflation isn't the cost- of-living increase for the average household in America,'' said Faber, who oversees $300 million at Hong Kong-based Marc Faber Ltd. Increases in corn, wheat, soybean and meat prices have driven food costs up for most Americans, he said. Emerging markets, including China, may fall more than the U.S., according to Faber. Rising oil prices and defaults on mortgages by the riskiest borrowers in the U.S. reduce the cash available for investments in those markets, he said. Growth in the U.S. current account deficit has boosted global equities, he added. `Excess Liquidity' ``In an environment where global liquidity is tightening, emerging markets that benefited from excess liquidity would be the most vulnerable,'' he said. A sell-off in Chinese shares on Feb. 27 sparked the global rout. China's CSI 300 Index of yuan-denominated A-shares, previously known as the Shanghai and Shenzhen 300 Index, has since erased its losses and yesterday climbed to a record. The S&P 500, by contrast, is still down 1.8 percent. Faber said a 10 percent slide in U.S. stocks from their Feb. 20 peak, a common definition of a correction, and a decline of 20 percent for brokerage firms including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley would increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates, bolstering stock prices while weakening the dollar. ``The Wall Street managing directors would be on the phone with the Fed to cut interest rates and to flood the system with liquidity,'' he said. Home Loans The emergence of home loan concerns means the stock market is unlikely to benefit from the conditions which supported its eight-month rally since last June, according to Faber. Oil prices fell 34 percent from a record $77.03 on July 14 to a 19-month low of $50.48 on Jan. 18. Over that period, the S&P 500 has gained 15 percent. Since its January low, crude has rebounded 28 percent to $64.62 a barrel at 11:43 a.m. in New York. ``Part of the rally was supported by a sharp drop of oil prices,'' he said. ``I don't think this will happen again.'' The U.S. stock market yesterday extended this week's losses after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said inflation remains his main concern even amid growing evidence the economy is slowing. Core personal consumption, a price gauge tied to spending patterns and excluding food and energy costs, increased at a 1.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter, down from the initial estimate of 1.9 percent. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation rose at a 2.2 percent rate in the third quarter.