5 Tips to Weather the Post-Hurricane Market

Jeff Macke

Disney (DIS) bought Lucas? Apple (AAPL) is making execs walk the plank in public?! Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) beat earnings?!! (See Related: George Lucas Just Made $4 Billion Without Any VC Money)

You could convince me of almost anything right now. I know nothing and I'm obviously not alone. There used to be a time when such a set up would be a green light to start making some trades. In a world where everyone's in the dark at the same time fortune favors those with the most speed and guile.

When Long Term Capital Management went down in the Fall of 1998 prices got bent in unnatural directions. All anyone knew was that something involving the Thai Bhat was skewing prices because of some idiot fund running correlation trades. If you had the squash to buy that dip you got a 20% discount on high-flying studs like Cisco (CSCO), Dell (DELL) and AOL. It was a monster trade in the face of chaos.

This isn't the same thing. From an investment standpoint, Hurricane Sandy is behind us leaving the elections, the fiscal cliff and all the other garbage we were discussing this time last week. It's impossible to know if prices are presenting an opportunity because there aren't enough players sitting at their trading desks for anyone to know what a "real" price is.

My playbook is this:

Do less.

Wall Street is enough like gambling already; there's no point in making blind bets ahead of the elections.

Listen to the Retailers next week.

November starts earnings season for the retailers, most of whom report same-store sales on Thursday. Obviously Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) were huge but how much of a ding is Saks (SKS) going to get? Will the Street give it a pass?

Overall Sandy was bullish for retail stocks from where I'm sitting (in a Kinkos (FDX), as it happens). Shelves got cleared and Christmas will go on as planned.

Wait for the Election.

It's happening next week. Given the mess out East it would make 2000 look like a rational exercise in democracy.

Keep Perspective.

Wall Street will be there next week. Hug your kids, pet your dog and be happy for all you have.

Rest Up.

It's going to a be a crazy, fun, weird two-month run into the end of 2012.

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