Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don't invest when the market is at an all-time high ?

It is impossible to time the market, since no one can know the future. With the market red hot and hitting all-time record highs today, is it still wise to invest ? Here are some reasons why and why not.

First, while you cannot time the market, you can certainly see a pattern of ups and downs. The market, or any stock for that matter never takes a straight shot up, without coming down for a dip.

Even in a record-high for the market, there are deals to be had. Sometimes people move out of certain sectors to move into other when the market is 'hot'. For example, slow and steady stocks may be left behind for the hot stock of the day. Dividend investor know that, and will be able to take advantage.

Further, there is no such thing as 'the market'. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Standard & Poor index, are just indices. They are weighted averages of a select set of stocks. That does not mean they are bad picks. It also does not mean they are good picks. Or that they are a good indicator of when it makes sense to buy (or sell) for your individual investment strategy.

While I don't time the market, I do time stocks -- to some extend. I'm a patient investor, and don't make many trades. So I can wait for things to cool down. This means I typically do not buy stocks that are within 5% of their 52-week high. I also look at the Price/Earnings ratio, and dividend yield, both of which are influenced by the stock price as well.

This means I ignore the market -- I only care about what individual stocks look like. Even if the market is at a high, there could be deals to be had. Today, my screener returned the highest possible score for COP. So yes, it is possible to make good investments on record market days.

Disclaimer: I own shares of COP.

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