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How to Time the Markets Like an Investing Pro - September 23, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Being that unique investor who has the power to consistently time the market and always make a profit is the dream for most people who trade their own accounts.

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 Oils-Energy stocks listed below to correct, only to see them reach new highs, climb higher and drive the bull market to record levels: Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP), Approach Resources Inc. (AREX), Antero Resources Corporation (AR), Apache Corporation (APA), Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (AXAS)

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

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

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 cautions not to sell during little crashes, and encourages enduring them by concentrating on the long haul.

There is a noteworthy distinction between a complete market meltdown and a common 10% market correction. The theory is that if you like and bought a stock at a previous valuation prior to the correction, you should love the opportunity to this same at a steep discount since the underlying fundamentals are most likely still intact. 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 consider this: Nobel Laureate William Sharpe found in 1975 that a market timer would have to be accurate 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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Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Apache Corporation (APA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (AXAS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Antero Resources Corporation (AR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Approach Resources Inc. (AREX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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