Forecasting the Stock Market

Every day I see in the financial section of newspapers how to forecast what the market will do in 6 months, 12 months, several years. “Ten stocks that will double in the next 6 months.” Right! I have trouble trying to forecast what it will do tomorrow. Do not trust any who claims he knows what the future will be for the market.

Of course, your broker will send you gobs of slick material about various companies that predict they will double or triple in the next 12 months. On the New York Stock Exchange there will be about one half of one per cent (0.5%) of companies that will double this year. Are you smart enough to pick those winners? I’m not and I am considered a professional trader. And I am sure your broker isn’t either. He just wants to make a commission and is probably promoting a stock his brokerage company wants to push.

Every investor wants to know the future and will send money to some “expert” who will send him news about a company that only (?) he knows. And pigs can fly. One thing about the market. It is almost impossible to keep a secret and everyone knows everything about other companies. As soon as some “analyst” finds a cogent fact that can influence a stock price he will share that “secret” with a few close friends. Within minutes the “secret” is known by hundreds of thousands and is immediately reflected in the price of the stock.

If you do get sucked into one of these money traps by some smooth-talking salesman or newspaper verbiage I strongly suggest you immediately plan your exit strategy. Without an exit plan you can easily lose a large amount of your “investment”. This is not an investment; it is a gamble and should be treated as such. The first thought of any professional trader is ‘if I am wrong how much am I willing to lose’? Maybe 2%, 5%, certainly no more than 10%. Pros understand that small losses are OK, but never take a big loss.

From 1982 to 2000 it seemed everyone was a financial genius. How many of those folks kept those big winnings from 2000? Almost none. Most lost 40% to 60% of their money. Brokers said, “Hang in there. You are in for the long haul”. Unfortunately he did not tell you that Modern Portfolio Theory is based on a 40 year time line.

Yes, but understand you don’t need to predict anything. Don’t forecast. What you can easily learn is follow the major trend. You bought in 1982 and you sold out in 2000. The trend can be found in many ways with the simplest being posted every day in Investors Business Daily newspaper under the IBD Mutual Fund Index. When the Index price is above the 200-day moving average you own equities and when it is below you are in cash or bonds. Nothing complicated,

Don’t try to forecast the market. Let the market trend tell you.

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