JG: We think a fair price for the S&P 500 index is 900. By sheer divine intervention we bought into the market on Mar. 6, the day it hit the recent low of 666. It’s likely, but far from certain, that we’ll go back and make a new low. You aren’t going to get to buy at the absolute low unless you have a time machine.
SM: Anything else besides U.S. stocks?
JG: U.S. stocks were nicely cheap, and frankly, the rest of the world was even cheaper. In early March, when we bought, we invested only in stocks we thought would have a 10 to 14 percent average annual return after inflation. That’s magnificent. We haven’t seen anything like that in 20 years. It was somewhat disappointing that prices moved up so fast in just a couple of weeks. The odds are a bit more than 50-50 that we will go back and test that low.
SM: So you’ve made a quick buck. Now what?
JG: You have a set of possibilities. First, if the market nosedives, it’s easy: You buy. The second is confusing, when the market just goes sideways, between 700 and 800. The market is irritatingly cheap then, but not supercheap. The longer that goes on, the less probability we will set a new low, so we’ll ultimately put money each month into the market.
SM: What if stocks keep rallying?
JG: If the market goes higher, above 950, and then starts moving sideways, between 950 and 1050, we probably do very little. Then the market is moderately overpriced.