Heard it today for the first time: "We've been here before, we've been up a lot and then given it all back come May."
To which I say, sure, but the key isn't to fear May, it is to make as much money as you can by the end of the first quarter so you can take something off the table of sizable proportions before we enter a period that truly has been a subpar moment for the market.
I discussed this issue with Stephanie Link today after "Mad Money at the Half" -- a show that has been electrifying, I might add -- and how those who are selling now because they fear May, selling in March and going away, so to speak, might end up missing the performance they need to make before they go into hibernation.
I have always been fascinated in the concept of when to start caring about performance and when not to. Karen Cramer taught me that you shouldn't even look at your run on the first quarter, you had to try to shoot the lights out, knowing that if you failed, you have the whole rest of year to make it back.
I always have to ask what planet so many of the managers I listen to and read are from. How little do they really know about the business of performance? Don't they know that you have to take more risk as the beginning of the year -- meaning that if you are bullish, you have to go for some beta? How can they be so conservative? Are they just willing to tell their investors, "Hey, I didn't believe it"? Or, "Look, it was all the Fed, so I couldn't trust it"?
Boy, my investors never gave a damn about my excuses. They wanted performance no matter what. That's what so confuses me. Some of these managers already have to hope for a huge selloff to catch up with the averages, and most seem ill-prepared to even buy on an individual stock dip. You almost never hear someone say, "I said I was waiting for a drop in PetSmart (PETM), now I got it and it checks out, so I am a buyer." No, the stuff that gets dipped is the stuff they don't want. They are really hoping for a market-wide selloff, and then when we get that, they will hate stocks for whatever caused the selloff!
I think the time to take risk is when you still have time to make up for the damage.
The time is still now. If you really shoot the lights out, you can take the spring off! If you don't, then you better hope everyone does sell in May, because otherwise it just might be too hard to catch up.