Here comes the stock market correction…What should you do?

Unknown-61Dear Mr. Market:

You’ve been messing and toying with the brightest minds since 1792, when the New York Stock Exchange was created under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. Your latest bull market run has as many investors as puzzled as it does nervous. The longer we go on without a stock market correction the potentially worse it will be when it eventually hits. At this point, it’s clearly not a matter of “if” but “when” it is coming. Continue reading

Force your Portfolio to be Disciplined in 2014

Rebalance Cartoon

Congratulations Mr. Market…you’ve delivered a tremendous year of returns to equity investors!  With the broad equity markets delivering returns over 25% (S&P =29%, DJIA = 25% and the NASDAQ = 37% as of 12/27/2013) investors are now faced with the question of what to do now?  For those investors that were invested in stocks, especially domestic stocks, year-end statements are going to look very impressive but remember that is only on paper. As we step into 2014 what should investors do with their portfolios?

Often investors choose to go with an adage commonly heard in casinos – “Let it ride!” Although the market defied odds and dodged several ominous obstacles, there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so going forward.  Sitting back and doing nothing could very well allow those returns to dwindle away and become nothing but a memory.  It wasn’t that long ago that ‘The Tech Bubble’ hit investors with a strong left uppercut that they never saw coming.  Mr. Market delivered three years of impressive returns (1997 = 33%, 1998 = 28% & 1999 = 21%) only to see it disappear with three consecutive years of negative returns (2000 = -9%, 2001 = -11%, 2002 = -22%) and let’s not forget 2008 (-37%).   How can investors avoid repeating history while also managing the risk and unrealized gains in their portfolio?  Continue reading

Is the Stock Market Headed Higher or Lower?

Dear Mr. Market,

tightropeHere we are…now what? You reached an all-time high this week with the S&P 500 breaking the previous record of 1,565 set in October of 2007. Congratulations! Although you’ve taken today off for Good Friday, here we sit at 1,569 and everyone is wondering …”what’s next?”.  Will you break out to even higher levels or is the expected correction that everyone is talking about becoming more and more of a given?

We ask you these questions because it’s times like this when many investors make critical decisions. Passing historic levels in the stock market can be more than just a headline. For some it’s a time of reflection and it allows the investor to see where they’ve come from since the last bear market or how they’ve done since the last time the market was this high. Breaking new highs shouldn’t be the trigger that tells an investor to reassess their strategy though.

Since nobody we know has a crystal ball, what we really want to know is how most investors are feeling in light of reaching these levels. Humans have a natural fear of heights. As a market gathers steam and prices rise most investors welcome that and typically “feel” good. A different feeling then creeps in when new levels are reached. Investors then believe with each new high that a reversion to the mean will occur and the market is bound to correct. Sure, the “writing is on the wall” and just about everyone we speak to thinks (feels) that the market will correct soon. This opinion is held the most by those that either have not participated in the recent market run-up or those that perhaps are trying to sell a different vehicle. Continue reading