I wish there was a magic formula for investing. I wish I could tell you that you will never suffer a loss and be left with a helpless feeling of not knowing what went wrong. Sadly, I can't. What I can offer is a method to stay invested. It comes with no guarantees of extraordinary gains, only the probability it's more likely to achieve your goals long term.
Have a process.
Make this process your own. It can include anything, technical indicators, browsing 10-k's on a Friday afternoon, balance sheet dissection, conference call study, whatever it takes for you to have a method to your investing. I'd also advise to sprinkle in a dose of common sense.
Over time you should be able to find a method that, if nothing else, keeps you from suffering great losses. I'll let you in on a secret. The best way to achieve solid investment returns is to avoid huge losses.
On a dry erase board above my desk, I have four simple phrases written down. They represent part of my process.
1. The "Good Enough" is the enemy of "The Best"
2. What do you like and why?
3. What will the world look like in 5 years?
4. The most important things don't revert to the mean.
I like to remind myself of these principles. These are mine, but you should have something similar, whether its written down or not.
Here's another tip. When you buy or sell anything, write down in a journal why. It takes five minutes but can be very helpful later. When you're ready to sell a long, consult the journal and see if the original reason or reasons you purchased the stock have changed.
Maybe you bought on momentum, a CEO change, a new product, it can be helpful to remind yourself what piqued your interest in the first place. Special note here, "it was going up" isn't a real reason. You can do better.
Over time you will find a process that works for you. It's invaluable. The folks that panic sell (or panic buy for that matter) don't have a real process. They are reacting to price. Try not to get caught up in the noise.
Inevitably, you'll hear all kinds of false tells during any given day regarding market action. "The breadth is weak," "volume is low or high," "there's too many new lows." "We need this sector to confirm." It's pretty ridiculous, to be honest. I routinely see acronyms and abbreviations that I have no clue about. Previously, I would look them up. I've tried to forget most of them.
I've never held a Yuan in my hand so I'm not exactly sure how "the fix" affects my Verizon long position, probably because it doesn't. My "fx concerns" begin and end with the strength of the dollar. Sorry, Brazil. I also don't think it's going to help me too much to factor in a "Brexit" to my portfolio. Surely, you can come up with some of these on your own.