By Barbara Kollmeyer
Staying above the turmoil is easier said than done for investors these days.
The calm that settled on global markets after the Bank of England’s unprecedented intervention to shore up U.K. bonds seems to be fading, with stocks in the red as a risk-averse mood builds for Thursday.
With central banks — the BoE being a current exception — no longer providing liquidity support to markets, investors now need to be more nimble if they hope to preserve their capital, or even wring some alpha out of their portfolios.
That’s the message from Stock Traders Daily and portfolio manager at Equity Logic , Thomas H. Kee Jr., who in our call of the day says they must learn or relearn one vital skill to survive these turbulent times.
“Unfortunately, many in today’s market have completely forgotten how to manage risk, and over the past decade the FOMC has dissuaded Wall Street from being concerned about risk,” Kee said in a recent post , which he discussed with MarketWatch in an interview.
In short, some investors have mastered the art of not managing risk at all, said Kee. And managing risk has been a core part of his Stock Traders Daily strategies from the internet bubble’s peak through during a decade of stimulus. Since 2000, he notes, “some of the most opportune times have come during times of widespread fear in the market.”
At its heart, risk management “both reduces the temptations that come with greed, and the stress that comes with the fear cycles,” letting investing flow through economic and market upheaval, said Kee.
So how to not be at the mercy of markets and fear? For starters, forget about that buy and hold strategy, said the portfolio manager, who has long used a strategy of alternating between cash and the highly liquid SPDR S&P 500 ETF /zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite SPY -0.75% .
He highlights his Stock of the Week strategy as an option for retail investors, who can be more nimble than the bigger institutions that have too much money to move around.
“The approach is to trade one stock every week, according to a trading plan that is designed to go with the expected flow of the market in the week ahead. The correlation factor is important, but the risk controls involved in the trading plans are traditional. They are normal stop losses, but what is not normal is that this strategy also ends every week in cash,” explains Kee.
That means investors can take a “nap” from market exposure over the weekend, as the strategy objective is to trade one stock every week, and end every week incash.
And using turbulent environments to an investor’s advantage has also worked for him when it comes to one cornerstone stock. Kee bought Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.34% in May, then sold it in near the highs in mid-August along with Invesco QQQ /zigman2/quotes/208575548/composite QQQ -0.64% , an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index, in mid-August.
He has been back buying Apple, which had a rough day on Wednesday amid reports of slowing demand for its newest models.
He says investors need to look for stocks that can “withstand good and bad times,” he said. “Apple is a bellwether and you don’t want to mess with lower quality stocks in conditions like this,” he said, adding that because of its quality, the stock can be held for a month or two.
Stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.90% /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.73% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.70% are under pressure as bond yields /zigman2/quotes/211347045/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD02Y +1.73% /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y +2.76% resume their march higher, along with the dollar /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY +0.15% , which is putting pressure on the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.2207% and euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.1990% . U.K. government bond yields /zigman2/quotes/211347177/realtime BX:TMBMKGB-10Y +2.87% , at the heart of Wednesday’s financial storm, are creeping up again. Oil /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +0.17% and gold /zigman2/quotes/210034565/delayed GC00 +0.44% prices are dropping.
Watch the yuan /zigman2/quotes/210561991/realtime/sampled USDCNY -0.1378% as China state banks have reportedly been told to stock up on the currency for intervention.