It seems really difficult to be an investor these days…doesn’t it? Everything you could possibly invest in seems to be going down down down, from the US, UK, China and Singapore. From stocks to commodities.
The intuitive reaction is to get out of the stock market and get into cash. There is intense fear everywhere that this is financial Armageddon and that the stocks will never recover. Yesterday, CNBC’s Jim Cramer (the guy who predicted that Bear Sterns was FINE) threw in the towel and urged all his viewers to SELL SELL SELL, saying that the Dow Jones dropping another 20% to 7,700 is a possibility.
This fear of buying any stocks and the ‘sell before I lose everything’ mentality is what is causing the huge drops in stock prices. The Dow Jones plunged to 9955 (as low as 9,600 intraday) and the S&P 500 down to 1,056.The indexes are down roughly 30% from their highs in Oct 2007. The markets have been on a downtrend for 12 months since the Financial crisis erupted.
Before you start panicking like the rest of the crowd and sell your stock positions, always remember that history always repeats itself. This same panic and fear that caused investors to sell at huge losses (and never daring to go back into the market again) is what happened during the last three crashes.
The Crash of 1973- 1974: Stocks crashed 45% over 24 months. It later rallied 300% over an 11 year bull run.
Black Monday (1987). Stocks crashed 38%. Within 2 months, it rallied 561% over a 12 year bull run.
The dot com bubble burst (2001-2003). Stocks crashed 36% over 24 months. It later rallied 86% over a 4 year bull run.
History shows that the harder they fall, the stronger the bull run that follows. Fibonacci expansion in technical analysis shows that the next XOP (extended objective point on the Dow over the next decade would be 18,000 points, The Dow is now at 9,900. That is a 100% return from where we are.
Invest Only With Money You Do Not Need
So, am I saying that you should take all your money and dump it in the stock market right now? NO! There is a high chance that the market could still go a lot lower before it gets better. Remember that we have been in a bear market for only 12 months. The last bear markets of 200-2003 and 1973-1974 lasted 24 months. We are down 30% from the highs. We could well go another 10-20%. Again, nobody can predict the market and I am not pretending to. Anything can happen and it is almost impossible to buy right at the bottom. For all I know, the market could recover and rally next month.
So, what does a smart investor (opposed to trader) do? The most important thing is to invest with money you do not need to use for the next 2-5 years!!!! The reason why people lose out the the stock market is because they are forced to sell at ridiculously low prices (like now) because they HAVE TO raise cash to pay for their house payments, car payments, childrenâ€™s education. Never Ever Use Money Which You Will Need. And NEVER EVER EVER borrow money to INVEST.
Invest In Great Companies With Solid Fundamentals
Remember that crashes are where FORTUNES ARE MADE. It is YOU, the well educated investor from Wealth Academy that must now put all your learnings to the practical test. Now is the time to research on those great companies (wide economic moat, way undervalued, history of consistent earnings, Low or zero debt, high ROE) and buy them at huge discounts when NOBODY WANTS TO TOUCH STOCKS. When the market turns around (anywhere from 1 month-12 months), you will be those very few who can say that the crisis was where you made your fortune and laugh all the way to the bank.
This is exactly what our dear Warren Buffett is doing right now, spending billions buying up companies for just pennies to the dollar. He just bought up GE, Added to UNH and also GS. The safest thing you can do is to look at non-financial stocks (the financial stocks have assets that are just too complicated to value) or even just simply buying the Index ETFs! That is a no brainer!
As I have always used a consistent dollar cost averaging model, I will not be looking to time the market so much. Rather, I will just happily and consistently add more and more very good stocks to my portfolio REGULARLY at these really great bargain prices.
Goodie…A Recession May Be Coming Soon!
9 Months ago, I mentioned to all of you (in my earlier postings) that the US will not be entering a recession as the boost from US exports (from a falling US dollar) and steady consumer spending will keep moderate growth DESPITE INCREASING OIL PRICES and the financial crisis. Sure enough, the last two quarters of GDP growth WERE POSITIVE and kept the US out of recession.
However. I now think that there is a big possibility that a RECESSION WILL BE COMING. Here are the reasons (extracted from moneycentral.com- Jim Jubak)
1. On Sept. 24, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes had dropped by a seasonally adjusted 11.5% in August from July’s already low levels. Sales of 460,000 for the month were down from the 520,000 new homes sold in July and the 500,000 sold in June. Sales for August 2008 were down 34.5% from sales in August 2007 and reached their lowest monthly total since 1991.
2. The Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims had risen to a seasonally adjusted 493,000 in the week ending Sept. 20. That was up from 461,000 the week before. The total number of new and continuing claims climbed to 3.5 million, about 1 million more than at the same time in 2007. Recessions typically see new weekly claims rise to 500,000. The economy isn’t quite there yet, but it’s getting very close.
3. New orders of durable goods — cars, furniture and other items that are expected to last three years or more — fell 4.5% in August, the Commerce Department reported, after posting slight gains in July, June and May. Even after the exclusion of orders for aircraft, which fluctuate wildly from month to month, and automobile sales, which everyone knows are in the tank, new orders were down 3% in August.
4. Consumer spending is starting to be cut and the rally in the US dollar (because of the plunge in Europe) will hurt US exports as well.
So, Why the Hell is this Good?
Recession = Stock Market Recovery
As crazy as it may sound, the START OF RECESSIONS often signals the ENDING OF A BEAR MARKET.
Take a look at the timing of the bear market of 1973-74 and the recession of 1974-75. This 21-month bear market resulted in the S&P 500 500 Index falling 50% from January 1973 through October 1974. The economy didn’t actually go into a recession until the third quarter of 1974. Economic growth fell 4.4% in the third quarter of 1974, 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 1974 and 5.1% in the first quarter of 1975.
If you compare the timing of the recession and the end of the bear market, you’ll notice that the stock market bottomed in October 1974. That’s at the beginning of the fourth quarter. At that point, the recession had just begun and had another quarter and two thirds to run. From the end of October 1974 through the end of March 1975, while the recession was running in full roar, the S&P 500 ACTUALLY CLIMBED 13%.
Because STOCKS DO NOT REFLECT THE ECONOMY but ANTICIPATE IT, the stock market rallies before a recession actually ends. And it was the visible onset of a recession that, in the case of the 1974-75 recession, helped the stock market find a bottom.
So letâ€™s hope that the actual economic recession will come and start signaling the start of the new bull market and the creation on our next fortune.