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The Alchemist (11/12/2008)
By Al Thomas


….. or Mutual Fund or Exchange Traded Fund in a major bear market.

You don’t believe this is a major bear. Well, you are in for an expensive lesson. All the “experts” on TV and the radio and the pretty cheerleaders on TV all seem to think we are at a “bottom”. It’s time buy.

Let’s see now. How many times have they declared a “bottom”? Gosh, it’s so many I can’t count. We are at another one now? At least that is what they are saying – again.

The investor that has any money left in his account. Stop. Don’t say that. OK, the investor that has seen his 401K or personal account drop by 30% or more since the first of the year understands what a bear market is. What he wants to know now is will it come back and when will it do so.

All of the mavens tell different stories. Almost all of them contain the caveat “for the long haul”. Let me translate that. It means “I don’t have a clue”. The professionals are as baffled by this long-clawed bear as the novices.

Again almost everyone of them says not to sell because we have been down for XX numbers of months or XX percent of decline or the market is ‘oversold’ and always rallies back or the stocks are so cheap buyers will be coming in or there is huge amounts of money on the sidelines waiting to invest or some other bit of nonsense.

The only rejoinder I can come up with is: Well why isn’t going up?

The straight answer might seem a little silly. Because there are more sellers than buyers.

There and several big reasons why the market cannot advance. Major economies of almost every country in the world are suffering from too much unused manufacturing capacity, inability to borrow because banks have just about stopped lending and consumers have quit consuming at former prodigious rates.

What are the odds of finding that winning stock?

Let’s say the investor wants to buy now and hold for a year. History tells him the chances of buying a stock that will gain 100% or more are about 2% in a normal market. If he is a true Buy N Holder his chances are close to zero in a long term bear market. From the high of 1929 it took 25 years to come back up.

Every broker will tell you that you cannot time the market. They are wrong. If they knew their business they would have had investors in cash months ago. Find a broker who has an exit strategy. If you can’t you must protect your own money by having the fund manager transfer to a money market account – today!!

Am I discouraging you from holding anything but cash in your account until the bear truly ends? I hope so. History backed up by today’s fundamentals tells a clear story that we have several more YEARS of the bear with which to contend. Cash is king.

You may receive Al Thomas’ investment letter at no charge for 3 months on the web site www.mutualfundmagic.com Never lose money in the stock market again. His book “IF IT DOESN’T GO UP, DON’T BUY IT!” has become a classic.



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