Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rallies Make You Rich, No Matter What the Type

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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While the major indices were flat yesterday a lot was going on below the surface in the market. Oil went on another incredible roller coaster ride, opening way down, getting close to even and then closing with smaller losses. It's back above the breakout point again in European trading this morning. A lot of small cap stocks, including some oil and gas drillers and producers, had major rallies yesterday however. In fact, the beaten down inexpensive under $5 stocks - the ones that almost every financial advisor tells you categorically to avoid are the stars of this rally. This is nothing new, its always the case in short-covering, technically based rallies.

Oil is repeating the behavior pattern at $50 that took place when it traded around $40. It went above $40 and was driven back below it over and over again. The oil "experts" were repeatedly quoted in the media that a price over $40 couldn't be justified. Oil would then go below $40 and would shortly thereafter bounce right back above it. It then shot up to $45, which the "experts" said was too high. It then promptly went to $50. Yesterday was the 4th time light sweet crude was driven below the key $50.50 breakout point. This morning in European trading it shot back above it. The market has continually shown that the oil "experts" the mainstream media quotes are wrong. Nothing succeeds like failure in financial media coverage however (much like in Washington, D.C.). The media seems to seek out "experts" who have never made a correct prediction in their entire careers.

The "experts" will also tell you not to buy stocks under $5 and stocks that have had huge price drops because they are unsafe. Better to stick with 'sure things' like Enron and those Bernie Madoff funds instead. When the market has has a major drop, buying low-priced, beaten down stocks are the key to making the most money in the rally that follows. Just make sure the company is financially viable - a current ratio around 2.0 and positive operating cash flow are the signs the company is likely to continue its operations. Low or no debt is even better, but not necessary. Running out of cash and failure to make debt payments is what drives companies into bankruptcy. On a fundamental basis, you can find a number of low-priced stocks that have very low price earnings ratios, price to book values well below one and even with price cash flow ratios below one (the price is below the amount of cash generated for the most recent year). There are also stocks with real dividends above 20%. These stocks are major bargains by any criteria. Oil and gas, coal (even in its bright, shiny form), and shipping are the richest source of these stocks. There are a few bargains in technology as well.

Yet is the mainstream media telling you to buy, buy, buy? Not at all. It is filling you with fear and telling you this is a suckers rally. Every rally is actually a suckers rally however. In a bull market, the suckers are the people who buy and then hold. In a bear market, its the people who sit on the sidelines and don't buy at the bottom or close to the bottom or even after the market is off the bottom because the financial media is warning them about losing money. If you are doing this, just remember every major financial publication had nice things to say about Enron. How much money do you think you'll make if you follow the investment advice of those people?

NEXT: The Deflation Boogieman, Oil and Intel

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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