This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Twenty-five Rules of Investing:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25 



Expect, Don't Fear Corrections



Rule 14

You'd think that after the dozens of corrections we've had in the last 20 years, we would get used to the process. You would think that we would say, "Let's prepare for the correction because it has to be right around the corner." Yet most people I know act as if corrections are total shockers, the type of thing that never happens.

To me, they are like the rain. I expect it has to rain. I prepare for it. When it comes, I am ready. I have an umbrella and a coat or I stay indoors.


Expect corrections; don't be afraid of them.


Of course, corrections happen at allegedly unexpected times. The last few we had were preceded by terrific days during which we made lots of money and all systems seemed go.

That's when I worry most. I used to have a rule at my hedge fund: When I made 2% in a day on the upside, I knew I was too exposed, I knew I was too long. I knew that my portfolio would kill me if we caught a storm. So as the market lifted, or if my performance was swinging too much to the upside, I would pull back, sometimes furiously, into strength, so I would be ready for that big down day.

Sometimes it never occurred, and I had to swallow my pride days later and come back in. But when it did occur, I outperformed by so much that my partners thought I was a genius. Plus, I was ready to buy things with the cash I had taken off the table.

For example, let's take the oils and the oil drillers, companies like ChevronTexaco (CVX:NYSE - commentary), ExxonMobil (XOM:NYSE - commentary), Halliburton (HAL:NYSE - commentary) and Schlumberger (SLB:NYSE - commentary). I like to pick on them because they are classic rally/correction stocks. When these stocks were ramping every single day in early 2005, I knew we were setting ourselves up for a fall. So I did my best to scale out into strength.

I felt terribly naked when, for example, Kerr-McGee (KMG:NYSE - commentary) spiked to $81-plus and I had none left because I had been selling into strength. Sure enough, though, a week later, and it was already below where I had sold it. If I liked it so much, I could have bought it back.

You may not know when a storm might strike. But we do have barometric readings that help immensely. When the S&P's proprietary oscillator registers plus 5, that signals to me a level of overbought that I regard as dangerous and I pull back aggressively and wait for a correction. That might mean that if I owned a portfolio of Intel (INTC:Nasdaq - commentary), PNC Financial (PNC:NYSE - commentary), Electronic Arts (ERTS:Nasdaq - commentary) and Procter & Gamble (PG:NYSE - commentary), I might be selling up to half of those positions, no matter what, in order to be ready for the storm.

If the rough weather doesn't come, I underperform on the upside. But think of this: I compounded at 24% after all fees for my hedge fund career, about twice what the market did during a long stretch in which it was pretty darned good. The only empirical conclusion: My method of avoiding the big down days more than made up for having less exposure on the big ramps up.




Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Real Money
Try it NOW

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,813.39 +1.20 0.01%
S&P 500 2,088.87 -0.27 -0.01%
NASDAQ 5,116.1430 +13.3350 0.26%