Hill of Hope

Just about now everyone is confused as to which way the stock market is going to go - up or down. For the past 3 years it has been headed south, but the Wall Street experts have told us that the market never goes down 4 years in a row so this has to be an up year. But no guarantees.

The old saying is that the stock market climbs a wall of worry. We watch sharp moves up followed by days, sometimes weeks of weakness and then another shot to higher prices. From 1982 to 2000 this went on until we absolutely, positively knew it was going to continue forever. The current mindset is you can't lose if you just "hang in there". Mr. Average-stockholder has lost about 50% of his money so far and has chewed his fingernails to the nub. Now what?

I hope you don't need a house to fall on you to realize we are in a long-term bear market, one that could last for years. In a bear market the action is exactly opposite what you see in a bull market - sharp declines followed by slow agonizing rallies that don't quite make it back to the previous high prices. This is called climbing the Hill of Hope. This is a slippery hill to which you will not make it to the top. Hope is the most expensive word in an investor's lexicon.

The smartest (?) analysts (?) and talking heads on TV continue to tell us the market always comes back - if you live long enough. They fail to tell you that every bull market is followed by a bear market of about equal length. This last bull ended after 18 years and if cycles repeat we have 15 more years of the downward path to follow. I know - "this time it is different". Let's hope so, but I don't want to have my money on hope.

The DOW Industrial Index has been down 3 years in a row and only once in history has it gone down 4 times to newer lows. Did you know that the DOW Transportation Index has been down 5 years straight? Can there possibly be a sixth year? Your answer is as good as mine.

There has recently been some liquidation of mutual funds from 401Ks and IRAs, but the amount is small. It has been reported that there is about 3 trillion (with a T) in mutual funds. The talking heads speak of 10 and 20 billion leaving the so-called "safe haven". As a percentage of total assets this is a spit. One of these days not too far in the future (probably this year) investors will suddenly get the idea to head for the door. And they all seem to do it about the same time like lemmings headed over the cliff.

This will look like a major bottom in the market - and it might be if the P/E ratio can get down to around 10 or less. Until it does they will still be trying, unsuccessfully, to climb that Hill of Hope.

Al Thomas' book, "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" has helped thousands of people make money and keep their profits with his simple 2-step method. Read the first chapter at http://www.mutualfundmagic.com and discover why he's the man that Wall Street does not want you to know.

Copyright 2005

In The News:

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Stock Update: Investors Taking a Second Look at Quotient Technology Inc. (NYSE:QUOT) After Recent Market Moves  The Coin GuildMajor market players are buzzing over Quotient Technology Inc. (NYSE:QUOT) as their share price hit $12.2 at the end of the most recent trading session.
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Stock market basics for beginners: 8 guidelines to follow  Bankrate.comInvesting in individual stocks isn't for everybody. The best advice for beginners to go slow, use a simulator first with play money, and don't expect to get rich fast.
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Fund managers ready to go shopping after sharp correction in stocks  Moneycontrol.comMutual funds that were holding around 8-10 percent cash level in their equity portfolio are likely to purchase shares of companies in banking and financial ...
401(k): How does the stock market drop affect my retirement savings?  USA TODAY401(k) retirement plans are taking a hit from the stock market drop. Declines are steeper for all-stock portfolios.
Why stopping mutual fund SIPs when stock market falls can jeopardise your financial goals  Economic TimesFear has returned to Dalal Street. Caught in a perfect storm of weak macroeconomic numbers, the IL&FS crisis and fear of more defaults, equity markets have ...
Five stocks that mutual funds think can outperform  Economic TimesA volatile month gave fund managers a chance to cherry-pick stocks.
Is your mutual fund buying or selling stocks too much?  LivemintA mutual fund scheme's turnover ratio tells you how frequently its fund manager buys and sells the underlying stocks. Typically, higher the turnover ratio, more ...
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Shall I buy the HDFC AMC stock or mutual fund?  LivemintThe risk of putting all our money in a few stocks is much higher than investing in mutual funds.
Mutual funds' exposure to banks hits 3-month low of Rs 1.88 lakh crore in Sept  Economic TimesMutual funds' holding of banking stocks declined by over Rs 21,600 crore to Rs 1.88 lakh crore in September, driven by the correction in equity markets.
Small- and mid-cap mutual funds open doors again, but should you invest?  LivemintL&T Emerging Businesses Fund and DSP Small Cap Fund have allowed *fresh* mutual fund investments, taking advantage of a continued correction in small- ...
Investing in equity mutual funds versus investing in shares: Which is better?  Economic TimesBy Dhirendra Kumar Hopefully, by now my columns have convinced you that most of your long-term investments should be in equity. The next question to be ...
Value focussed MF are cutting their exposure to Indian stocks. What about you?  Moneycontrol.comAs valuations climb, the funds have chosen to stay light on Indian stocks and exposure to bonds and arbitrage has gone up.
Why your mutual fund earned you less than Nifty in recent market rally  Economic TimesThe more the number of stocks in an index, the weaker is its performance.
These 18 consistent mutual funds may help you to beat stock market volatility  Economic TimesMany equity mutual fund advisors abhor volatility in the stock market. They are always searching for ways to tackle this beast which gives them sleepless nights.
Mutual funds that destroyed most investor wealth in the September selloff  Economic TimesThe recent selloff in the stock market has raised fears of a rush for redemption in mutual funds.​
Is it a good time to invest in small-cap mutual fund schemes?  Economic TimesDespite the slide in the Nifty Smallcap100 index, fund houses seem to be placing faith in small-cap funds again. Should investors take the cue?
Best value-oriented equity mutual funds to invest in 2018  Economic TimesEven as the stock market stumbles along nervously, many investors are looking for tools to navigate the volatile times in the market. And suddenly everybody is ...
Mutual fund holdings in IT stocks touch all-time high  Economic TimesMumbai: Fund managers are betting big on the IT sector, on the back of an improving global macro environment, depreciating rupee and rise in IT spends.
Mutual fund managers bought & sold these 20 stocks in May  Moneycontrol.comRelative valuations are attractive and around average, but midcap valuations are still looking stretched despite the recent drawdown, Morgan Stanley said in a ...
Some international funds are giving around 40% returns. Should you invest?  Economic TimesInternational mutual funds are topping the return charts. The category has returned around 20 per cent in one year. Should retail investors bet on these schemes ...
Investing in stocks needs deep understanding of markets  LivemintDirect investing into individual stocks requires deep understanding of the markets and continuous involvement into investing.
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Top stocks bought and sold by mutual funds in June 2018  IndiainfolineInvestors should focus on longevity to create wealth. We advise investors to stay invested in those stocks whose growth story is still intact.
How stocks picked by mutual funds over 2014 to 2017 have performed  Economic TimesWhile the most wanted stocks of 2014 and 2015 have done well, the recent picks have disappointed.
Bleeding mutual funds: Should you go back to good old fixed deposits?  Moneycontrol.comAre you worried about the losses on your investments in mutual fund schemes? You are not alone. There are many investors who dumped their good old fixed ...
Here are top buys and sells by mutual funds in August when Sensex, Nifty hit record highs  Moneycontrol.comAmong largecaps, HDFC AMC, Sun TV Network, TVS Motor, Vedanta and Tech Mahindra topped the August buying list of top 10 mutual fund houses which ...
HDFC AMC, Reliance Nippon stocks fall over 9% after Sebi caps expense ratio of mutual funds  Business TodayThe stocks of asset management companies (AMCs) fell in trade today on fears of lower revenues after market regulator Sebi capped expense ratio for mutual ...
Top 10 mutual funds which can double your wealth in long term  The Financial ExpressMutual funds are one of the most popular and smart ways for investors to build wealth over the long term. One can also double one's money, if planned properly.
How to Invest in Mutual Funds  The Motley FoolIf you want to understand how to pick the right mutual fund for you, you've come to the right place. In the guide below, I've put together all the major pieces of ...
Domestic mutual funds are selling these smallcaps and midcaps in hordes. Check out why  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: And you thought midcaps and smallcaps have been under pressure over the past three months because of the Sebi reclassification, requiring ...
5 strategies for investing in mutual fund in the current market to get good returns  Moneycontrol.comMutual fund investing is all about ascertaining your goals and setting out to reach them.
Choose your mobile app wisely to invest in direct mutual funds  Moneycontrol.comSome mobile apps are not updated on regular basis. Often there may be errors in the stocks portfolio of several schemes.

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