U.S. Markets closed

Stocks Plummet: Time for a Gut Check

Fin - Breakout - US

After a one-day respite stocks are sharply lower today. Supposedly the catalyst is the economic data, which continued its trend of being utterly horrible. The Empire State Manufacturing report came in at -7 percent, its lowest reading since last November and roughly on par with the kind of numbers reported in 2008. So that's bad.

Of course, Breakout readers know I think the catalyst is the U.S. dollar's relationship with the euro. The dollar is up 2 percent against the euro today and pushing toward the 1.30s. It should be clear by now that I'm rather adamant about a strong dollar being bad for equities.

But I'm not here to call people names or talk about me. I'm here for you, stockholders. I want to check in with you and make sure you're not feeling panicked, flustered or otherwise in the type of mindset that could lead to bad decision-making.

Specifically, here are the questions you need to be asking yourself:

* Did you want to buy the rally yesterday and do you want to sell today?

* Are you kicking yourself for not taking advantage of yesterday's rally to prune your portfolio?

* Worst of all, did you buy stocks yesterday that you're selling today?

If you bought yesterday and sold today, you weren't "early." You were wrong. You gave into a perfectly natural and insanely expensive instinct. You paid full price the day before a sale. If you're selling into this mess, you're also wrong. You're dumping into the panic, which is horrible investing or trading. I'm not making fun of you. I'm telling it to you straight because that's what friends do.

It's not a sin to be wrong but it's unpardonable to stay wrong. If you're lying to yourself about your portfolio management, you may as well just go down to the NYSE and "make it rain" by throwing your cash onto the floor. The traders are going to take your cash anyway, and just giving it to them saves the commission.

So I'll ask you: How do you feel? Anything other than "relaxed" is the wrong answer. Wait for an up day then sell until you can sleep. And comment below or drop us a line at Breakoutcrew@yahoo.com.