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The Truth About Market Timing - August 22, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Have you ever dreamed of being that one in a million investor who has the talent to perfectly time the markets?

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 Retail-Wholesale stocks listed below to correct, only to see them reach new highs, climb higher and drive the bull market to record levels: American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO), AutoZone, Inc. (AZO), Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (ABG), Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)

Investment emotional triggers (fear and greed) can lead to costly mental mistakes by investors who typically fall into the trap of being a market follower instead of a market leader.

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.

Many investors think of market timing success as a win or lose proposition. But there is a less notable, rather straightforward, successful market timing approach that has been utilized effectively time after time by astute investors like Warren Buffet.

Rule 1: Never try and time tops and bottoms.

Abandoning the objective to time the tops and bottoms conclusively gives you the flexibility to profit, and extends your chance to benefit from the equity markets over the long-term whether your specific market timing calls are right or wrong.

Rule 2: Don't sell during small crashes - ride the storm out, or better yet, take advantage of the opportunity.

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 key distinction between a small correction and a market crash. 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 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 just human that many surrender to emotions and attempt and game the framework 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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American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (ABG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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