Richard Russell turns bullish Wednesday September 7, 9:25 pm ET By Mark Hulbert ANNANDALE, Va. (MarketWatch) -- Stop the presses! Richard Russell, editor of Dow Theory Letters, has turned "totally neutral on the stock market -- at least as to the secondary trend." I nominate this for the understatement of the year award. It actually represents a huge bullish turn for Russell, who has been almost exclusively bearish for six years now, especially given that he was making aggressively bearish noises as recently as the past couple of weeks. What changed Russell's mind? The first thing is the new all-time high in the Dow Jones Utility Average. According to Russell, "Normally, the Utility Average will hit its highs well before the final high in a bull market, although there have been times when the Utility Average topped out simultaneously with the bull market high." The second is a chart that has Russell "bug-eyed," one that he "stared at ... for half-an-hour in astonishment." Russell is referring to a particular point and figure chart for the (Vancouver:SPX.V - News) S&P 500 index that is designed only to show major reversals. (Point and figure charts are ones that technicians use to filter out minor price movements that are considered to be merely noise, enabling them to better focus on the bigger picture.) According to Russell, "The chart shows that if the S&P rises to 1,250, this would be a powerful upside breakout, with a large upside target hundreds of points higher." The S&P 500 closed Wednesday at 1,236.36, less than 14 points away. But there's more. On Russell's interpretation of this chart, rising above the 1,230 level also must be considered a breakout with at least some upside potential. That occurred on Tuesday. So odds appear to give a fighting chance of the bigger breakout above 1,250 occurring soon. As a result, Russell is now recommending that subscribers willing to speculate should purchase (AMEX:SPY - News) Spyders, the exchange-traded fund benchmarked to the S&P 500. Why has the market's chart patterns turned so suddenly bullish? Russell responds: "I'm not going to pretend that I know why the stock market suddenly turned strong ... From a speculator's standpoint, it makes absolutely no difference why the market turned strong. The reasons may be known in a few weeks or a few months. The important thing is simply the market action itself." Why pay attention to what Russell says, given that he has been wrong on more than one occasion in recent years? A number of you e-mailed me this question after previous columns in which I quoted him. In fact, one of you suggested helpfully that Russell must be paying me under the table to quote him. The answer, of course, is that I quote Russell because he has a good track record. In fact, when ranked on the basis of the performance of just their stock market timing recommendations, Russell's is in second place among all the newsletters the Hulbert Financial Digest has tracked since 1980. For the record, it should be noted that Russell remains fundamentally bearish on the stock market's longer-term trend. That is because, in his opinion, stocks are not currently cheap. So his advice remains unchanged for investors, as opposed to speculators: Stay primarily in cash.