DISCLAIMER : THE FOLLOWING "Shunning Anxiety and Investing in the Market" CONTAINS STRONG OPINIONS WHICH ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF THE OPINIONS OF FOX NEWS AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS INVESTMENT ADVICE WHEN MAKING PERSONAL INVESTMENT DECISIONS. IT IS FOX NEWS' POLICY THAT CONTRIBUTORS DISCLOSE POSITIONS THEY HOLD IN STOCKS THEY DISCUSS, THOUGH POSITIONS MAY CHANGE. READERS OF "Shunning Anxiety and Investing in the Market" MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN INVESTMENT DECISIONS.
Climbing the anxiety hurdle has always been the most Herculean of tasks for investors (search), both professionals and individuals. Market watchers like to say that investors’ miscues are the result of greed and fear and they’re correct, but the more specific problem for investors is overcoming the second-guessing that is the real psychological challenge.
As the calendar turns and we head into the final stretch of the year a significant portion of investors have missed the equity rally. Initially it was easy to rationalize not participating as the market was closing higher in the face of a war and other nuggets of bad news on the economic front. Perhaps the move was a knee-jerk bounce from oversold conditions, but it certainly couldn’t be the real thing, investors reckoned. Then the rally began to pick up a head of steam and the train was pulling out of the station after years of whistle blowing accompanied false starts. But heck, this move in equities had to be yet another false start after all, what had changed. Right? Anyway the warm months were upon the market and old axioms like go away in May sounded like winning strategies. Oh well. Finally the rally looked like it hit a brick wall in late June, and the pundits that had been wrong all year long began to say: I told you so.
After sitting through the worst bear market in generations, the last thing investors should be doing is looking for comfort when the market takes time to consolidate. Fact is that during these periods sideways movement there is a window of opportunity to finally clear those mental hurdles and get in the game. Let’s face it, you didn’t call the top and you didn’t call the bottom and you’re only fooling yourself if you think the market will pullback to a spot and you’ll find the courage to buy that weakness. You didn’t buy strength! Feeling like we’ve chased a stock is terrible if they don’t continue to run. As soon as such stocks pullback we feel stupid for a) missing the move in the first place and b) being that greater fool the guy on television was talking about, and buying the top. I have a few tips that could make one feel better about so-called chasing and to get in the game.
• Trends in the market have legs. Often we’ll see a stock higher on news or a special event and assume that we’ve missed the opportunity. This notion is reinforced when that same stock spikes higher and then pulls back over the following sessions. Yet if the news/event is fundamental in nature more often than not we haven’t missed an opportunity.
• We tend to feel that stocks that are already at 52-week highs have made their move. In this instance there are two things to remember. First, new highs beget new highs just as new lows begat new lows. Secondly do yourself a favor and pull out a three-year chart. Now does the stock look too high? Does it look like it has room to the upside? In the overwhelming number of cases the answer will be that there is a ton of room to the upside.
• The experts say that valuations are too high. I say that’s bunk, especially when the only valuation metric they’re referring to is the price to earnings ratio (most firms employ price to earnings measure based on estimated earnings for the up coming year). I say take a look at the price to sales ratio, the price to book ratio, the price to cash flow ratios and the enterprise value ratios. That’s just the start. If you really want proof that one could miss out on fabulous winners by only focusing on stocks with price to earnings ratios below 18, take a look each weekend for the biggest winners and biggest losers of the week. I bet most of the big winners carry P/E ratios that the pundits told you to avoid.
I have two stock recommendations for investors that may want to use a lull in the market action to sidestep their anxiety and invest.
Goodyear Tire (GT) $7.45
This household name has had its share of troubles over the last few of years, most noticeably the rollover controversy involving sports utility vehicles. Ironically the share price of the company’s stock increased even after the Fed’s opened up their investigation in November 2000. Still by the summer of 2001, however, when the company began to recall tires and the heat was on the stock began a meltdown that saw the share price dwindle from $30.00 a share to $4.00 in February of this year. Since the storm began the company has made a series of important moves that should pave the way for re-acceptance by consumers. In the meantime management is on the verge of a three-year deal with the United Steel Workers that will allow them the ability to map strategy better and remove the kind of surprises that Wall Street abhors. There is no price to earnings ratio, but the shares change hands at a price to book ratio of 2.04 versus the industry average 2.55. The last five insider transactions took place in 2002, but it should be noted that they were all buys between $7.49 and $13.00 a share. Using a three-year chart and one could see that a move above $8.00 would be a major breakout and more than likely lift the share price to $10.00. Longer term we think the stock has potential to rally to $14.00 a share.
CVS (CVS) $32.39
Most consumers are familiar with CVS, as the company has over 4100 stores throughout the US. I think the stock represents a good proxy on the improving economy. Moreover, the company has solid management and the shares are cheap, even when using the price to earnings ratio as a guide. The P/E is 17.54 versus 24 for the industry. There are glaring disparities when comparing the company’s price to sales, price to book and price to cash flow ratios against those of its peers. From a fundamental point of view the company should benefit greatly from its pharmacy benefits unit as well as its retail pharmacy business. By the way, the last two insider transactions this summer were buys. Employing a three-year chart and one could see where the stock has a clear path to $35.00. That has been a tough resistance point in the past, which will make a breakout a monumental achievement that could propel the share price north of $40.00 quickly. My target over the next year for the stock is $45.00 a share.
– Charles V. Payne is the founder, CEO and chief analyst of Wall Street Strategies.