Your broker never wants you to be in cash. You might take it out or invest it in something else. "Don't worry, the market always comes back." Yes, and pigs can fly. Fund managers are even worse. Because I recommend selling out temporarily and going to cash does not mean I don't have a long-term program. It means I don't want to participate in a down market. CASH IS A POSITION. It is the same as owning Vanguard Index 500 when the market is going up and being in a Money Market Fund earning interest while the market is going down, but not losing your principle. Make sense?

Brokers will tell you over and over that you cannot "time the market". WRONG. Just because they are not smart enough to do it does not mean it cannot be done. I have been doing it for years and have never been caught in a bear market. Even the Federal Reserve Board published a paper saying that "market timing" works. There are timing programs or services that can be bought that are very simple and easy to understand. To protect your retirement funds you must have this in place.

In my column last week I called the market a Stealth Bear. It looks like it has come out of its den. You don't want to be around when the bear is running loose. It can hurt you.

During this past few weeks we have seen some tech stocks lose 80, 90% of their value, but how about good ole Proctor & Gamble dropping 30% in one day? That is a stock held in a high percentage of retirement portfolios and hundreds, if not thousands, of mutual funds. It is going to be a long time before we see new highs in the Nasdaq Composite and the reason is very simple. There are people and fund managers who own many stocks that they would like to sell to get "even". Know anyone like that? This effectively puts a cap on any resurgence back to the top.

I have no idea if the market is going to go lower, but the tendency is toward more selling, not buying. This is a good time to have a position called CASH.

Copyright 2005


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