If you bought any of those valleys over the last two years, you're better off for it.
As usual, the fear and, to a lesser extent, actual unfolding of one crisis or another drove the broad market down on practically every dip. There's nothing quite like looking back, knowing that you stayed calm and purchased equities in the face of the hysteria of the day.
Really, it's a simple formula, buy strong companies on the dip. And couple that with a few index and/or sector plays you believe in.For me, it was media stocks (e.g., Time Warner (TWX) and Madison Square Garden (MSG)) toward the end of 2011, beginning of 2012. Today, I focus on names such as Starbucks. Great brands with innovative leadership, plenty of room to grow and a loyal cult of habit-formed, lifestyle, mobile and/or tech-savvy consumers. Lululemon (LULU) is nearly as strong as Starbucks from a brand standpoint. In some respects, it's "the next Starbucks." While I might not be the biggest Apple (AAPL - Get Report) bull in a post-Steve Jobs world, it, almost better than any other stock, illustrates my point perfectly. QQQ data by YCharts
Over time, nothing matters aside from buying strong companies when the world appears to be coming apart at the seams. Certainly, you'll miss on a few buys and pass up on what would have been a winner or three, but, time and time again, the strategy wins out. You don't need technical analysis and too-cool-for-school quantitative metrics to spot fantastic stories such as Apple, Time Warner, MSG, Starbucks and Lululemon. You don't need a market crash either. If you feel like you've done your homework on the stocks that excite you and you're in for the long haul (meaning many years, not months) there's probably no time like the present to buy. Personally, I'm waiting on and hoping for massive multi-day drops across the major indices. The type of thing that sends the 24-hour news cycle into a tizzy.