A Cautionary Note
Market-timers are circus clowns minus the funny suits. Even when they dodge the bear market, they inevitably miss the ensuing bull. Their track record is terrible, and that of their cousins, tactical asset allocators, is not much better. There is a reason 99.9% of mutual fund assets are invested in funds that don't attempt to time the market.
The same, naturally, applies to market-timing writers. As I would prefer not to don a red nose, this column is therefore offered as an exercise, rather than as advice. Do stocks appear to be cheap, expensive, or somewhere in between? The answer is unlikely to change our investment portfolios (it certainly won't change mine), but perhaps the process of thinking through the issue will prove useful. Bad news strikes less hard when it has been anticipated.