Where Is The Rabbit?
We need a rabbit!
This was a pretty horrible week for the market with two 100-point days and Friday closing on the lows.
During these past few days Sir Alan told us things are looking up and the economy is basically strong. Mr. Market didn't hear him. It seems that jaw boning can't get people to buy. In fact there were more sellers than buyers.
If you go back in history it is a truism that has become conventional wisdom that the stock market goes up during an election year. The reasoning is obvious. The president - who ever he is - in office will pull out all the stops to create the illusion that the economy is in good shape and he is the one who takes credit for it. Both Mr. Bush and the Fed chairman better get their best top hat out and reach way down for that white rabbit.
It is going take some real magic to get folks in a buying mood. The lower it goes the less likely they are to buy. Of course, brokers are calling and telling investors, "This is the break to buy. Stocks are cheap. Better get on board now. You can't let this opportunity pass by. You can't afford to be out of the market." And on and on with the platitudes. Don't believe any of that hog wash.
What brokers should be telling investors is to protect their money by placing stop loss orders. You can be sure that won't happen. The big brokerage firms frown on stops and punish brokers who encourage customers to use them. Fortunately, when I was a broker I worked for company that did not penalize this concept and I refused to take a customer who would not place stops when they bought something. That is why I never lost customers and had them for years.
This year the major indexes (DOW, S&P, and NASDAQ) are down. Not a great deal, but definitely lower. This means for those who invest in index mutual funds that they are running a loss. Brokers always say, "You are in for the long haul" so not to worry about what is happening now. That's what they told you in 2000 and you still have not recovered your losses from then.
No brokerage firm tells the true story of the secular bull and bear markets. These have occurred with great regularity for the past 200 years and will, if history continues to repeat, follow the same course. The shortest secular bear has been 8 years and the longest 25 years. At a minimum we are not half way through this one. Prudent investors (and I hope that's you) will protect their portfolios with stop loss protection on every position. Every broker and financial planner will advise against it, but it your money not theirs.
The market is not magic. Hocus pocus and white rabbits will not make it go up for very long. Illusions are not where it's at. Forget the brokers' abracadabras and place your stop loss protection today.