Wall Street reputations have been made and lost calling market tops and bottoms.
Often, a strategist will get one side of the call right – time to get out, let’s say – then miss entirely the signal to get back in. Behavioral finance experts provide many reasons investors behave the way they do at market tops and bottoms.
Whatever the behavioral tendency, I ascribe to the Warren Buffett tenet that if you’re not willing to own a stock for 10 years, you shouldn’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.
Investing, unlike trading, is a marathon, not a sprint.
Which is not to say that you should not be actively managing your portfolio. As one of my favorite Wall Street strategists, Nancy Lazar, reminds: When the facts change, change.
For everyone but pension plans, bonds are tough to own here.
With the 10-year Treasury yield at 1.255% as of Friday’s close, it is difficult to find a path to solid returns in bonds over the next three to five years on a nominal basis, never mind the likely negative return after inflation.
Stock indices are, for the most part, at historic highs, and the value of stocks is inflated compared with the earnings they generate for investors.
Now is a good time to take a look at your 401(k) allocation and consider investments with low correlations to stocks or sector-focused funds that will benefit from emerging secular trends.
It isn’t necessary to make wholesale changes to your portfolio, but you can certainly add value around the edges. Thinking ahead and responding to emerging technologies and trends will add incremental returns to your portfolio.
Planetary decarbonization is a secular trend that is gaining momentum. While it may not be fully implemented for decades, there are a few ways to invest in the critical suppliers and technology necessary to build electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels or wind energy, for example. There are plenty of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in industrial metals like copper, which is important for EVs and solar panels, which also use silver, silicon and zinc.
The infrastructure bill that has passed the Senate invests in roads, bridges and clean water. There are ETFs with a focus on infrastructure as well as individual companies that will be integral in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
When a secular trend is emerging, there are often plenty of opportunities to participate far beyond the initial emergence.
The payment system in the U.S. is archaic and on the verge of changing in a meaningful and permanent way. It’s not just the innovation of fintech companies but the importance of blockchain technology and the here-to-stay emergence of cryptocurrencies.
The innovation of companies like Square and PayPal, to name a few, will force the traditional banking industry to speed up and innovate. (Full disclosure: My company and I own shares in Square.)
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, recently acknowledged that fintech has innovated quickly and sent the names of the most successful technology payment system companies to his senior management. The message? Pay attention and innovate.
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There are dozens of ways to play this trend: individual companies, ETFs, cryptocurrency. Do your homework and assess your risk tolerance.
If you simply want to reduce your exposure to stocks and are worried that buying bonds at current levels will yield negative real returns, take a look at convertible securities. Convertibles offer greater potential for appreciation than ordinary corporate bonds
There are plenty of mutual funds and ETFs that invest in this space, and many produce enviable yields. In a market environment like today’s, convertibles can provide higher levels of income and the potential for an equity kicker not available in traditional bond funds.
Nancy Tengler is chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments and the author of “The Women’s Guide to Successful Investing.”
This article was originally published on USA Today. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.