Saturday, September 05, 2015

playing it "safe"?

Just as few foresaw the long bull market, few anticipated the recent downturn. Sure, there are people who have predicted 17 of the last three sell-offs, and who will claim to have called this one, too. Nope. Huddling in a tent for several years straight, then leaping up to exclaim "Aha!" when the thunder finally sounds, does not a rain doctor make.

This collective fog makes post-crash interviews excruciatingly dull. Stay the course. Hold tight. Don't give in to your emotions. The bromides are mind-numbing. But they are correct, in that it is no easier to predict the market's recovery than it is its decline. This chart from FiveThirtyEight shows the results for a theoretical investor who moved to cash whenever stocks fell by at least 5%, then got back in once they recovered by at least 3%. Not pretty.


So one would think the inverse would be true.  Buy when stocks fall by 5% (to simplify it.)

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