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Timing the Market, Is it Possible? - April 16, 2020

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?

Indeed, even among those investors who don't try to consistently time the markets, many think they can still call a top and act opportunistically. It's at these times when an investor who speculates often sits on the sidelines and looks for better opportunities to put money into 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 Computer and Technology stocks listed below to correct, only to see them reach new highs, climb higher and drive the bull market to record levels: Acacia Communications, Inc. (ACIA), Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (ACLS), ACM Research, Inc. (ACMR), Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE), Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK)

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.

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: Never attempt and time tops and bottoms.

Abandoning the goal to time the tops and bottoms precisely gives you the flexibility to profit, thereby increasing your chances to lock in built-up profits even if your calls aren't exactly right.

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

Warren Buffett has made his fortune based of this straightforward guideline. He cautions not to sell amid little crashes and to instead endure the temporary hardship and profit by concentrating on the long haul.

There is a major distinction between a financial crash and a mild market reset. If you own shares of a company that is well - established and has strong fundamentals, they are probably going to rebound to their pre - crash prices eventually, thereby rendering holding on a wise decision. Warren Buffett takes this thought one step further by often buying outsized positions in value stocks he likes across the board when markets turn, essentially leveraging his bottoms-up analysis and stock picking acumen.

When It Comes to Trading Your Retirement, A Risk Adjusted Trading Strategy Should be Followed

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.

Chasing alpha, outsized, short - term returns through market timing and other high - risk bets is acceptable only within a small part of your investable resources, however for your long - term retirement assets a 'risk-adjusted' investment discipline is what largely bodes well.

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Acacia Communications, Inc. (ACIA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ACM Research, Inc. (ACMR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (ACLS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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