Monday, October 27, 2008

Investing Requires Flexibility to Take Advantage of Conditions

I wasn't sure whether to title this as "Investing requires flexibility", "Rush to liquidity won't necessarily improve investing results", or "US dollar strength won't last".

And that's because, currently, all three are tied together. Nearly every currency in the world has been pounded against the US dollar recently, as there's been a rush towards that currency. Now I can't say that I fully understand all of the reasons for that, but even currencies that should theoretically be strong have been caught in the backwash over the past few months. If you take a look at this currency chart, you can see that virtually every currency therein is down - and in many cases down very significantly - against the USD over the past three months.

So as bad as your short term investments might have done during this turmoil, if they were effectively denominated in other than USD, those ones probably did worse.

Furthermore, during this rush to liquidity (i.e. large cap US stocks, cash and equivalents) has left a lot of other quality investments (but which are less liquid) looking as roadside kill. However, for longer term investors who have too much of their portfolio dominated by USD products, this now presents some wonderful opportunities - perhaps opportunities you missed a couple of years ago.

For some, this might mean moving away from quality US stocks, to other developed country quality stocks. For others, this might mean finally buying the appropriate level of emerging economy stocks (or ETFs). Still others might use this opportunity to position themselves in quality small company stocks.

Whatever or however you decide to approach this opportunity, be aware of two factors: the pounded down overseas relative stock values won`t last - and neither will the current USD strength. Take this bear market opportunity to position your portfolio to look great five to ten years out. Be flexible.


The Confused Capitalist


Anonymous said...

Buy US stocks (Value Village) but the USD is going to fall? That 20% hit on the USD CDN conversion takes a lot of the value out of 'cheap' US stocks, does it not?

Jay Walker said...

I think you might have missed the point. I was trying to say that US stocks have held up relatively well over the past two to four months if translated into other currencies.

However, that won't last, so perhaps selling some of those and translating them into other currencies would be a good idea at this time.