It's been some time since I contributed publicly (testament of a life in balance?), but markets are worming interestingly this early 2016 morning. I have a hunch you could use some simple advice. Let's bullet...
- The previous bull market is broken. It's been flashing signs of ugly most of the previous year, but importantly, the length of this downturn is presently undefined. So while it may not be wise to count on markets working their way below the flash-crash lows of August, it's important to recognize that potential is quite real, if not likely
- Investors should be thinking about preservation, but also about opportunity. Someone overweight equities and staying the course, is genetically designed now to sell into a panic. Someone underweight equities (many younger people, for example) should worry less about preservation and bulk up on dry powder to take advantage of the potential lower cost basis
- Bear markets can be wicked, but wicked bear markets are rare. You want to take advantage of fire sale prices when these arise (or fall, as the case may be)
- And Rome did not dampen in a day. I'll opine we're near an inflection low, even if not likely the ultimate low. If you're overweight equities, the opportunity to pare back exposure at higher prices may be upon you. Understand that counter-moves upward in an ill market tend to be short and sharp - don't hope for higher if the market is spiking upward and you need to reduce exposure. The sharper the bounce, the more likely it will be short-lived. If you're over-exposed, preservation mandates you take action
- The next bull market may start Monday morning (I doubt), but might be some months off. Once we find ourselves in a new bull market, I'd advocate getting fully invested (as far as your directed allocation for equities within a portfolio. This won't include allocation of other investments, safety-cash and liquid instruments; bombshell dry-powder, etc.)
- For lovers of cowboy coffee (active traders), a gap-lower Monday represents an actionable opportunity for markets to flush-and-turn (a counter-trend rally). Markets may manage to turn Monday regardless of how things open, but the gap-lower now, following last week's melee, is a more actionable entry. You'll know pretty quickly if you're still swimming with great whites
- But for investors, this correction offers long-term-hold opportunities for putting new money to work. The key now is to remain patient (unless you were underweight already, in which case putting out a little long-term money to work Monday would be perfectly appropriate). The cowboy-trade for Monday is premature; the trend in equities is presently broken; it's tough to draw that pretty
- We're in the belly of the beast now. If you're handling it well, you're something of a pro compared to most. In regards to the media, as my long-term-hold mentor Howard Lindzon alluded to Friday, the media will be playing into the fears of their viewers, all in a chase for ratings. The media is more whore than score (Howard didn't say that). Don't allow close-ups of blood in the streets to ruin a good plan. Business media is not always here to help
- Nothing beats a new bull market. If that takes months to percolate, it's worth every bean. More than anything liquidity is what drives prices. Animal spirits and fears, these only exacerbate them. The key for now - don't be over-exposed in a bear market, but don't be so invested in fear that you miss all the best prices
- Get outside!
Author's note re his inactivity: The Michael Davey advisory role has not lately included a daily blog, as in the past. A daily blog is a nice way to get noticed, but getting noticed in this medium leads to staying noticed, which is a helluva lot of effort.