Editor's Note: Gary B. Smith's column runs exclusively on RealMoney.com; this is a special free look at his column. For a free trial subscription to RealMoney.com, click here. This article was published May 29 on RealMoney.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The opposite of love isn't hate. It's apathy. Similarly, the opposite of an up market probably isn't a down market. It's a sideways market.
Yes, a long-term, dull, sideways market might do a lot more damage than a bear market, as it will eventually suck the energy and lifeblood out of both traders and investors.
In fact, if you look at the chart below, 99% of us have been blessed with nothing but good times for decades on end. So while I don't necessarily think we're in for bad times, I think it's conceivable we could go horizontal for a spell that could last for more than a few months. Think years, in fact, like we had back in the '60s and '70s.
How would you do during that kind of market? We may be getting a glimpse now, as the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
started going sideways in about June 1999. So go back and take a look at your returns since then. If you've made consistent money, then you're probably in good shape. If not, it's time to start thinking about different approaches to trading through this fog.
And that is the final word from ARCO Arena, where NBC has to be dying about a Kings-Nets final. Good basketball, maybe, but it doesn't have quite the same ring as Lakers-Celtics!
Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication, he held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith writes a daily technical analysis column for RealMoney.com
and produces a daily premium product for TheStreet.com called
The Chartman's Top Stocks. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send your feedback to
Gary B. Smith.