Friday, February 10, 2012

Market Strategies from the World Money Show

I had a great time catching up with lots of friends and associates today, and I was pleased with their overall positive sentiment about the U.S. economy and markets.

The investment advisors at the World Money Show are a diverse bunch with a range of opinions. I spent the afternoon quizzing a few of my favorite advisors about their take on the current market, as well as which sectors look attractive for 2012.

You may recall my recent discussion about the transition of economic and market cycles and my contention that we were nearing the changeover from early- to mid-cycle, when small caps begin to lose their luster and investors begin to find larger cap stocks more attractive.

This was the prevailing theme in almsost all of my interviews today, accompanied by pretty bullish outlooks from the majority.

Here's a snapshot of what they had to say:

1.  Europe and the U.S. are not tied to each other at the hip, with historical proof that recessions on the continent did not foster similar economic downturns in the U.S. Additionally, the improving economic indicators in the U.S., including consumer sentiment, housing, and unemployment, continue to indicate a strengthening environment on the home front.

2.  Whether investing in dividend-paying stocks, growth equities or ETFs, and although the climate is bullish, this cycle requires more than a "dart-throw" to ferret out the best investments. All agreed that judicious stock-picking would become more important in the days ahead. In other words, don't chase yield or "hot" sectors; instead, find out if the company or companies, in the case of an ETF, are fundamentally strong investments for the long haul. Always a good strategy, in my opinion.

3.  Don't give up on emerging markets. Although most are still underperforming, it may be the perfect time to indulge a small portion of your portfolio in areas that are destined to grow exponentially in the next few years due to demographic and economic trends. And while I heard very few individual stock recommendations, several advisors thought a diversified ETF would be a good start.

Overall, pretty bullish, although most agreed with me--the volatility isn't over, but the trend looks good!

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