Just keeping my readers posted. I sold most of my stocks and mutual funds today. Tomorrow, April 23, 2009, the government will release two sets of important numbers: one, unemployment claims; and two, Existing Home Sales. It is possible these numbers will be quite good. I doubt it.
On April 1, 2009, I told my readers that government action would make the market rise. As I predicted, it did. The S&P 500 rose from 811.08 to 843.55, a gain of 4% in just three weeks.
I still believe the S&P 500 will, sometime this year, hit my original target of between 920 and 950; however, I don't see much point in being in this market right this second. My personal risk analysis can't countenance holding mostly equities for a potential 10% gain over the next six months. I believe I will have another opportunity to jump back into the market.
If the numbers released tomorrow are good, the market will continue to rise, and I will have missed out on potentially major gains. That is a risk I am willing to take. Staying mostly in equities right now, without knowing the home sales numbers, seems too dangerous.
My short-term trading strategy has limited my losses. My retirement funds have declined approximately 14% from December 7, 2007 to April 22, 2009. (I don't know the exact percentage. Throughout the year, I deposit additional monies in my retirement accounts, which distorts the ultimate percentage even after accounting for the new deposits.) The S&P 500 has declined around 44% during this same time period. Perhaps buy-and-hold investors will laugh last, but for active traders, cash seems like a safer place to be right now than equities.
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