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When Does Market Timing Actually Work? - November 06, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

There is no better feeling for an investor than trusting your gut or doing your research and timing the markets correctly, right?

In fact, even among long-term investors who don't attempt to time the markets, being able to call the top of the market is a skill that many think they possess. This misguided confidence is often driving investors to sit on the sidelines and wait it out for better market opportunities.

Missed investing opportunities by exiting at the first sign of trouble is a common pattern among many self-directed investors. Case in point: How many investors have missed huge opportunities waiting for the Conglomerates stocks listed below to correct, only to see them reach new highs, climb higher and drive the bull market to record levels: Crane Company (CR), Barloworld Ltd. (BRRAY), Bunzl PLC (BZLFY), China Merchants Holdings International Co. (CMHHY), Honeywell International Inc. (HON)

Fear and greed often lead investors into behavioral traps since most investors are followers who react, rather than anticipate market moves.

Accomplished market timing requires three key components: 1) A dependable sign of when to get in and out of stocks. 2) The capacity to act upon signals quickly and accurately. 3) Have the stomach to act on market signals, no matter how counterintuitive the move may be.

The popular image of market timing is that it calls for making drastic, all-or-nothing moves at the precise, exact market top or bottom. There is a less well-known, rather simple market timing approach that has been used successfully by savvy investors like Warren Buffet for decades.

Rule 1: Attempting to time tops and bottoms is lose-lose situation.

Forget tracking for market tops or bottoms to expand your odds for success with a longer timeline and give yourself the flexibility to eventually profit, regardless of whether your calls are spot-on or way off-base.

Rule 2: Try not to sell amid little crashes - instead exploit the opportunity by buying.

Warren Buffett has made an incredible piece of his fortune because of this basic standard. He benefits by focusing on the long - term and buying high quality stocks at a discount during large market corrections to profit down the road.

There is a big difference between a stock market crash and small correction. If the companies you own are established and successful, they are likely to return to their pre - crash price before long, making holding on the wisest decision. Warren Buffett takes this idea one step further and often goes on a buying spree when markets turn, essentially buying additional shares of his top stock picks at a big discount and listening to his own advice, 'Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.'

A Risk Adjusted Trading Strategy Should be Followed for Your Retirement Assets

It's only human that many succumb to greed and try and game the system by timing the market. But, think about this: Nobel Laureate William Sharpe found in 1975 that a market timer would need to be precise 74% of the time to beat a passive portfolio. Even a slight outperformance probably wouldn't be worth the energy - and given that even the experts generally fail at it, market timing shouldn't be your exclusive investing strategy of choice, especially using assets earmarked for your retirement.

Actively trading for alpha, outsized, short - term gains through market timing and other high - risk trading strategies is fine with a small portion of your investable assets, but for your longer - term retirement assets, a "risk -adjusted focused" investment solution generally makes more sense.

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Crane Company (CR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Honeywell International Inc. (HON) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
China Merchants Holdings International Co. (CMHHY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bunzl PLC (BZLFY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Barloworld Ltd. (BRRAY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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