Bears take charge!

Although the markets appear to be oversold, the bears have clawed their way back into the spotlight. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) lost 3.52%, the Nasdaq (chart) -5.28%, the S&P 500 (chart) -4.30% and the Russell 2000 (chart) -5.42%. In my May 6th blog, I eluded to the 200-day moving average being tested on these key indexes and it appears that next week this major support line will indeed be intruded. In fact, the Russell 2000 (chart) not only tested its 200-day, it closed below it yesterday.

So what has happened in May to turn the markets and what is the retail investor to do? Without question the European debt crises is at the forefront of this selloff. Between Greece’s seemingly imminent default and multiple Spanish bank downgrades last week, this alone was more than enough to spook investors. Then add in the mix the continuing fallout of JPMorgan’s (NYSE: JPM) massive trading loss, plus the spectacular run that stocks have had since last October, it’s no wonder we find ourselves in the midst of a 10% correction.

So what is one to do? As an investor/trader when I see fear in the marketplace as we have now, I make a list of top notch companies and look for select buying opportunities. However, I have learned that you must be patient in this type of environment and if you think the market is close to bottoming, it is always best to take on positions very slowly and in very small increments. For example, if you are looking to buy 1000 shares of a given company that you have been waiting for to go on sale, you may want to consider 100 share lots over a period of time. Far too many times investors think that equities have hit bottom and buy all at once without considering that stocks and indexes can continue to go lower and remain oversold for an extended period of time. With the scale in method, the good news is that should the markets turn and go higher, at least you have initiated a position and will benefit from the turn. Whatever your strategies are, it’s always best to exercise patience in this type of climate and always use protective stops on all of your postions. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend 🙂