Stock Markets


From the end of 1999 through the end of 2009, all of the popular Wall Street market performance measurement tools were in the red. The average bloodletting level of the DJIA, the S & P 500, and the NASDAQ was a disturbing-to-some minus nineteen percent.

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Most of the investment community is either open-mouthed in shock or strident in blame about the somethings or someones who must be responsible for such horrific performance. Never again they swear to their clients— without ever a hint that they might themselves be the problem.

It won’t be long before the Wizards of Wall Street announce that they have studied the situation, and readied their sales minions to switch the shattered investment public into yet another fail proof (fool-magnet?) portfolio of hedges, gimmicks, signal responders, and panaceas for whatever the new decade brings.

Once again they will attempt to debug the market cycle and create an upward only future for the masses. Try not to be abused again— the markets aren’t broken, just the market shakers. Your portfolio should be up in market value— and not by just a little for the “dismal decade”.

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These are the same geniuses that created the dotcom bubble by cramming valueless securities and speculative IPOs down your throats. They are the same charlatans who created the derivative markets and fraudulently hid their gaming devices in innocent looking rolls of tissue paper.

Wall Street thrives on the boom and bust scenario — because it doesn’t really matter to them how many of you win or lose. The evidence is clear; a boring-but-winning approach has been out there (and ignored) for three equally productive decades. The investment gods are outraged!

The past decade was a fabulous decade for old-fashioned value investors, particularly those with a reasonable selling discipline in their methodology!

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It was a fabulous decade for those who understood that quality, diversification, and income generation are principles as opposed to media placating buzzwords.

It was a fabulous decade for those investors who were able to see over, beyond, and through artificial time constraints to find the long-term opportunities within every beautiful market cycle undulation. There were plenty of gyrations to gyrate to if you only knew how.

Investing is no longer a passive enterprise; and it never really was. If you can’t manage your portfolio throughout the market cycle, without succumbing either to greed, to panic, or to artificial and complicated hedging strategies, just stop. Right now. Listen and learn something old.

The only market cycle hedges needed are quality, diversification, and income— all classically defined. Throw in some disciplined selection and selling guidelines, a cost-based asset allocation formula, and a non-calendar year perspective and success will follow— cyclically.

You may miss a speculative spike or two (i.e., bubbles), but in the long run, Market Cycle Investment Management (MCIM) is a proven methodology for long run investment success.graphdown

You just can’t replace market cycle reality with calendar year gimmickry. Do better. Google investment grade value stock and request the ten-year MCIM numbers.

Change is good.

Steve Selengut

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Actually, hindsight and the Investment Grade Value Stock Index (IGVSI) Bargain Level Monitor tell us that it died early in March 2009. More realistically, however, corrections don’t die quite so abruptly. They are supplanted by rallies— and vice versa.

The IGVSI Bargain Stock Monitor tracks the price movements of an elite group of New York Stock Exchange equities. Their “eliteness” is earned by a B+ or higher S & P rating, a history of profitability, and the fact that they pay dividends to their shareholders.

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Unfortunately, they are the same companies whose boards of directors allow senior executives to pillage treasuries with obscene salaries and bonuses— and elite does not mean invulnerable to the whims of markets and governments.

But, for Working Capital Model (WCM) equity investments, they are just perfectly less risky (historically) than the others.

An IGVSI equity becomes a bargain stock (or “OK to add to your portfolio if it meets strict WCM diversification and price standards) when it falls at least 20% from its 52-week high. From 15% to 20% down, it is held in a mental “bull pen”, getting ready for the “bigs” after a few more down-tics.
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September is fewer than three weeks away. Feeling nervous? Maybe you should be. For investors, the period between Labor Day and Halloween is proving an annual fright show. And no one knows why.

It was, of course, in September last year that Lehman collapsed and everything fell apart. But then it was also September-October 2002 that the last bear market plunged to its lows.

The 1998 financial crisis? It began late August, and rolled on for two months.

The famous crash of 1987 came in October. But most people have forgotten that the market actually started sliding downhill in late August.

That’s almost exactly what happened in 1929 too. The big crash came in October, but the market peaked just after Labor Day. Prices began falling through September, then tumbled further still.

The worst month of the Depression? September, 1931, when the Dow fell about 30 percent. It was also in September, 2000, that the bear market really got going.

Read the complete entry

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Investment markets got you down, Bunkie? Been blown away by derivative stun guns? When will portfolio market values move back to 2007 levels— and then what will you do about it?

It’s time to overthrow the evil Masters of the Universe and deactivate their weapons of financial destruction. Let’s outlaw the brainwashing that has changed how average investors look at and value their investment portfolios.

It’s time to exorcize the Wall Street demons and return to stocks and bonds— and to QDI, “the Force” for long-term investment portfolio security.

Speculating is complicated, even for financial rocket scientists. What most of us want (or would certainly settle for) is simplicity, stability, and reasonable growth in our productive working capital.

A return to plain vanilla investing strategies with operating procedures that minimize risk and encourage understanding of the financial markets needs to become part of our financial force field.

As bad as things have been since this black hole appeared, investment models true to fundamental concepts, simple strategies, and disciplined operating rules have probably bettered the market numbers in at least six important ways:

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I’m not a professional tennis player. I’m not even a tennis player. The last time I touched a tennis racket was 5 years ago. But I did read about how a professional tennis player aims to hit as many balls to the opponent to make him miss, in order to win. An amateur , on the other hand, aims to try to catch as many balls as possible, aiming not to make any mistakes till his opponent eventually makes a mistake and causes himself to lose. That’s defensive playing.

I’m not a professional stock investor either. I admit neither I have the time nor the patience to go through every financial report, visit the companies I’m interested in buying and whatever else it takes to be really confident enough to put a huge chunk of my hard-earned money into the stock. So I have to invest defensively. I aim to minimise my losses while riding the general upward trend of the stock market, rather than maximising my gains on the individual hot stocks. It may limit my gains a little, but in the event of a crash, I hope to come out relatively intact. I basically expect a crash, even in the longest bull run ever. It’s like having a Plan B even though you hope you never have to use it, or buying insurance though you don’t really want to die or get a critical illness just to make the most of it.

So how do I play my defensive game ? I protect myself the following ways.

1. I stick with what I know. It’s easier to figure out that maybe the market has over-reacted when you are familiar with the industry. For example, I bought Bank Of America at $4 and Citigroup at $1. The prices were crashing as people anticipated a further crash and that didn’t happen. Today they are holding at $13 and $3.5 respectively. Do the exact opposite of what the average investor is doing. I bought Merck when it was being sued for one of its drugs , Vioxx. The price crashed as people anticipated huge lawsuit payouts, which never happened.

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indian_shares_zoom_180509Expectedly, after the resounding victory by the Congress Party in the general elections, markets skyrocketed as soon as the opening bell was sounded; eyeing a windfall in terms of government spending in a host of sectors to pump-prime the economy.

The sentiment was so strong in the trading community and the going was so good on the BSE Sensex that it reached the 17.24 per cent gain mark in no time, forcing the authorities to temporarily halt trading, when the circuit breaker* kicked in.

The same story repeated itself on the National Stock Exchange where the trading was also halted with the Nifty up by 17.33 per cent.

Within seconds of trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensex vaulted 2,110.79 points, or 17.3 percent, to 14,284.21, triggering the historic shutdown Monday. Infrastructure, banking and real estate companies led gains. Trade was forced to close for the day, after the Congress Party’s definitive victory in national elections set the scene for long-delayed economic reforms

“The big question – is it a game changer? Can India get back to the high growth, high valuation of recent years? This event probably does open up meaningful possibilities, but there’s a lot to do, and there could be a lot in the way,” she said in a report.

Trading has never before been halted due to an upward swing in stock prices, according to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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buy-stocks-now1The right time to get back in the market may be just around the corner. With global economies sinking, sometimes dramatically, it can be a scary thought to put your hard-earned money on the line. However, a smart investor will realize that golden opportunities are appearing if proper research is done.

If you look at a long-term chart of the Dow Jones average, you will see that it is currently at some of the 2002-2003 levels. It has dropped dramatically since the financial collapse of 2008-2009, but it is still in familiar territory. It may take another two years or more for a large upswing in the markets, but at least we hope that the Dow will not drop below 7,000 points. That may bring hope and some peace of mind about starting to invest again.

Dollar Cost Averaging

The concept of Dollar Cost Averaging comes to mind in the current market situation. It is the process of buying stocks or similar investments on a regular basis, such as once a month, using a fixed amount of money. When prices are low, you are able to buy more shares. When prices are high, you buy fewer. In this way, you are able to take advantage of temporary low prices. This is especially helpful for long-term investments, such as retirement accounts. It may go against human nature to buy stocks when everything is falling and red but in fact it can lead to a bigger payoff if done correctly.
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header_2Every correction is the same, a normal downturn in one or more of the markets where we invest. There has never been a correction that has not proven to be an investment opportunity. You can be confident that governments around the world are not going to allow another Great Depression “on their watch”.

Every correction is different, the result of various economic and/or political circumstances that create the need for adjustments in the financial markets.

While everything is down in price, as it is now, there is actually less to worry about. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.

In this case, an overheated real estate market, an overdose of financial bad judgment, and a damn the torpedoes stock market, propelled by demand for speculative derivative securities and Hedge Funds, finally came unglued.

But it is the reality of corrections that is one of the few certainties of the financial world, one that separates the men from the boys, if you will. If you fixate on your portfolio market value during a correction, you will just give yourself a headache, or worse.

Few of the fundamental qualities that made your IGVSI securities sound investments just two years ago have permanently disappeared. We’ll be using credit cards, driving cars and motorcycles, drinking beer, and buying clothes twenty years from now. Very few interest payments have been missed and surprisingly few dividends eliminated.

Only the prices have changed, to preserve the long-term reality of things—and in both of our markets.
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blackfridayRisk is the probability of loss. It is best to estimate it and to adjust your purchase and sell strategies to it in order to control loss before the purchase is made. Correct timing of purchases, buying near support, limiting loss potential, and stopping the decline by using volatility stop losses are all ingredients of a good risk control system. Let’s look at a few of these loss control discipline components.

One method of controlling risk is by timing purchases so that they occur at or near support. That way, your stop loss can be a very small distance away from your purchase price. If you buy when the stock is 5% above its trendline, for example, it will mean little if the stock declines 5% to reach its trendline. Since stocks often return to support, why would you sell? You would sell only if it broke to the downside through its rising trendline. Therefore, your loss would be calculated by adding the distance the sell point is below the trendline to the distance the purchase price was above the trendline. Buying at the trendline instead of above it would eliminate that unnecessary 5% loss.

However, stocks often make a small temporary penetration through a support line and then resume their climb. When, precisely do you sell? Let us use the suggestions offered in Technical Analysis of Stock Trends by Edwards and Magee as an example. If you are using stops that are based on closing prices, they suggest a trendline penetration of 3% would warrant selling. If your stop loss is placed with a broker, they recommend that the stop be placed 6% below the trendline because of the possibility of inconsequential intra-day spikes. Therefore, if you buy when the stock is 8% above its rising trendline and place the stop loss 3% below the trendline, you will lose 11% before your stop is triggered. On the other hand, if you wait for the stock to return to its trendline before buying, you will lose only 3% if your stop is triggered. It is important to buy right so that you can sell right.
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The near-term outlook for global stock markets is for continued volatility, with little chance of sustained progress until we see an end to corporate earnings downgrades and an improvement in economic leading indicators.

In this note we comment on the problems facing emerging markets, and some broad thoughts on why capitalism remains a reasonable starting point for economic systems.

What is our market outlook?

The threat of a global financial meltdown has diminished thanks to massive central bank and government intervention, which has addressed the liquidity and solvency issues of many US and European banks. However, corporate earnings estimates for 2009 still look too optimistic in light of the poor economic leading indicators that we are seeing, such as consumer and business confidence levels. Therefore, sandwiched between the possibilityof an immediate short-term relief rally and a positive long-term view that equities are currently cheap, we have a near-term view that markets will remain volatile and are likely to trade sideways while the US, Europe and Japan endure a recession.

Emerging markets: the real threat would be a rise in global protectionism.

If the worst is over regarding the US and European banking crisis, it certainly is not for some emerging markets. Hungary finds itselfwith a massively over borrowed consumer sector, with foreign currencyborrowings in Swiss francs and Japanese yen. As these safe havencurrencies appreciate, the risk of widespread default on mortgages and other bank loans increases. The Ukraine economy is coming down with a bump as foreign lenders are put off by 25% inflation. Other emerging markets are suffering from a mix of problems that can include an overvalued currency, excess consumer borrowing (in local and sometimes foreign currencies), falling prices for commodity exports, domestic politics and a drop in demand for exports as the G7 enters recession.
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