Sell Your Stocks and Head for the Hills?
"Sell in May and Go Away" was an old adage used to advise clients to sell their portfolios during this time. There has been some historical evidence that in cases has proven beneficial, but that evidence has been conflicting; especially in the past decade. If you had followed that advice and sold your portfolio boy would that have been a major mistake! You see in eight of the past ten years the market has been positive and not by a marginal amount either. The historical stats told a compelling story from the '50s until around 2013. Is it by chance, is there evidence or is something else happening here? People have claimed that most Hedge-Fund managers take off from May - October to enjoy some downtime from stress and take those typically warmer months to travel and lay low. The one thing to note is access to trading platforms and how the markets have evolved. We can all pretty much trade and react within minutes if not, seconds, of getting news about market movers. That was all changed with smartphones and the apps that have leveled the playing field.
With that logic, what might we expect for this period and what's happening right now? We have discussed the rotation out of tech and into value for months now on our PennyWise Financial Podcast. We continue to see this theme play out and it does not appear that the shift will end anytime soon. European markets appear to be weak and the virus is still a major headwind for those economies. We view the European markets and International to be behind the U.S. markets by about 6 months or more.
Print baby, Print! That has been happening for a while now and the government seems to be ramping up the distribution of funds with programs to help. Everyone agrees on the need for programs to exist, but how and why they hand over greenbacks is something left for discussion. Inflation should be one of the primary risks for investors right now. It is also the primary risk to bondholders. That's right, the people who wanted safety and didn't want to invest in the stock market could have some challenging times ahead.
Some other factors to include in your portfolio allocation is the looming tax legislation proposals for a corporate tax hike, capital gains tax, and estate taxes. Value stocks are trading at a lower multiple than the high-flying large tech companies which makes them much cheaper and more attractive. Where are managers getting the cash to buy these value names? In your portfolio! They are looking to peel back some of the gains in the tech sector, lock in profits and look for the next big score.
At the end of the day, we consider all these types of considerations to be valid, except the adage to rip all your money out of your investments to sit in cash. Stocks and the stock market don't pay attention to calendars, year-to-date returns, or any other correlation we try to formulate to use as the rationale. Earnings, market conditions, sentiment, employment, interest rates, GDP, legislation, and other factors are real metrics to use when analyzing your investments. We don't follow the "Sell in May and Go Away" strategy as we view this as baseless and a matter of coincidence. We're not believers and we don't think you should be either.