Three Investment Strategies for a Volatile 2015 Stock Market
The start to the New Year is probably not great if you are sensitive to stock market volatility. The past week was relatively what you can expect for this year—a weak and volatile stock market. (Fortunately, there are three investment strategies investors can consider to profit this year; you’ll find them below.)
The DOW had three triple-digit losses, cumulating in a decline of 661 points that was partially offset by two triple-digit gains of 525 points last Wednesday and Thursday. When the markets opened this week on Monday morning, the DOW was down 150 points.
If you don’t like stock market volatility, then the current trading action is not for you.
With the decline, the major stock market indices are holding precariously near their 50-day moving averages (MAs), which will likely be tested again, based on my technical analysis.
The problem we have is the failure of oil prices to hold after the break below $50.00 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is below $46.00; by all accounts, on the chart, prices could be heading towards $40.00. As long as oil is weak, the stock market will be volatile going forward.
And as I discussed last week, the stock market is looking for some support from the fourth-quarter earnings season reports. Based on what FactSet has to say, the reporting season doesn’t hold much promise. I’m already seeing some cracks emerging for the stock market that make me nervous.
For example, high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. (NYSE/TIF) is down after cutting its FY15 earnings-per-share (EPS) outlook and reporting flat same-store sales during the holiday season.
In the chip area, NAND maker SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ/SNDK) is saying its revenues in the fourth quarter will come in below its guidance on weaker sales. The soft demand for NAND chips implies a softer tone for growth in the technology sector, as the chips are broadly used. I’m nervous on the projection and advise investors exercise caution in this area going forward—at least for the time being.
The reality is that there is very little reason to buy into the stock market at this juncture.
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth was strong in the third quarter, but it’s not reflected in the stalling expectations for corporate revenues and earnings. This has been an issue for a few years and needs to reverse; otherwise, I don’t see how the stock market can record sustainable gains.
So here we are: the energy sector is a mess and earnings don’t hold much promise. This implies we could see a negative stock market in January, which is not a good sign for the year ahead.
Three Investment Strategies for 2015
So, simply put, there are three general investment strategies I’d suggest investors consider at this time:
- Investors can continue to take some money off the table after rallies, as I don’t think they’re sustainable at this point.
- Investors may consider using put options on the key stock market indices as a hedge.
- Investors could take a look at gold at this time, as the yellow ore could gain support if the stock market weakens and the threat of additional slowing in the global economy holds.