Speaking at TD Ameritrade's annual conference in Las Vegas, Black Rock Vice Chairman Bob Doll told attendees that "if the Fed needs to buy stocks on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, they will go there."

I've often heard people like The New York Post's John Crudele say such things. But aside from Crudele, I've always considered folks who make such statements to be conspiracy-theory-spouting nut jobs. When Doll made the statement, it was the first time I heard it come from a mainstream expert who is balanced and rational. Doll also told attendees he expected a low double-digit gain for U.S. equities in 2009, not the typical bounce of about 40% one historically gets in the year after a bear-market bottom. Why? Because earnings for the S&P 500 companies fell by more than 10% in 2008, they are very likely to do so again in 2009. That would be the first back-to-back series of double-digit percentage declines since the 1930s for the S&P 500.

Doll also predicted that nominal GDP would fall for the first time in 50 years in 2009, largely because of the dramatic vaporization in household net worth.