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When Does Market Timing Actually Work? - November 13, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

In the long-run, does consistent market timing really matter to be a successful investor?

Even among those who don't aspire to be the perfect market timer, many think they can call a top and act accordingly. It's at these times when investors choose to sit on the sidelines and wait for a 'perceived' better opportunity to invest in the market.

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 Construction stocks listed below to correct, only to see them reach new highs, climb higher and drive the bull market to record levels: Armstrong Flooring, Inc. (AFI), Anhui Conch Cement Co. (AHCHY), AAON, Inc. (AAON), Arcosa, Inc. (ACA), AECOM (ACM)

Dread and exuberance regularly propel investors into merely 'reacting' to market volatility, rather than envisioning market trends.

Productive market timing requires three key parts: 1) A dependable sign for when to get in and out of stocks. 2) The ability to follow up on the sign rapidly and precisely. 3) The ability to be completely unemotional and trust in the signal no matter the current market environment.

Market timing is commonly perceived as the ability to guess the exact market top or bottom and make moves accordingly. However, there is a less common, rather straightforward market timing strategy that has been utilized effectively by insightful financial specialists like Warren Buffet for a considerable length of time.

Rule 1: Why trying to time the tops and bottoms of the market is a dead end.

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 his fortune based off this simple rule. 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 major distinction between a financial crash and a mild market reset. No matter what happens in the stock market, chances are that the stocks you own will eventually come back to their pre - crash value; hanging on to your original positions, or opportunistically averaging down, during market downs can be the shrew distraction to take. Warren Buffett takes this thought a notch higher and frequently goes on a buying binge when markets turn, purchasing additional shares of his favorite stocks at a major markdown and tuning in to his own recommendation of being greedy when others are scared, and being scared when others are greedy.

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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Armstrong Flooring, Inc. (AFI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AAON, Inc. (AAON) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Anhui Conch Cement Co. (AHCHY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AECOM (ACM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Arcosa, Inc. (ACA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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