So what of those August lows? Do you remember how palpable the fear was that morning when the Dow was down 1,000 points at the open? It's been two months since we took advantage of that buying opportunity and the Dow is more than 10% higher than it was that morning. The hardest trade to make that morning was to buy more. The hardest trade to make in the days since those lows has been to remain steadfastly long and/or buying more stocks, as I've been doing.
We've had some nice bounces off the higher lows that we saw in most of our stocks since those posts where I was beating myself up for not having been more aggressive in selling stocks when they were at their all-time highs earlier this year.
But I've also been leaving myself room to add more aggressively to my portfolio if/when we got a retest of those August lows. Even as a bull, and as I've been buying more during the selloffs, I've been too bearish. I shoulda, coulda, woulda bought more and gotten us back into Netflix (NFLX) at $90 or loaded up on Synaptics (SYNA) at $65 when I was lamenting instead.
The only way to drive yourself to outperform the broader markets is to be willing to look back to review your analysis, trades and decisions and then admit your mistakes.
There are trading and investing lessons to be learned in every market. One of those lessons I keep learning over and over is that you really have to be as objective and fresh in your analysis as you can be. My analysis was pointing me to be more aggressive in my buying and scaling into more long exposure when I was writing Columnist Conversation posts like "Buy when you can, not when you have to" and articles like "The Bull Market Isn't Over Yet" and explaining that my analysis pointed me to:
"I do think we'll see DJIA 20,000 before this bubble-blowing bull market we're living through is entirely over. Corporate earnings are such a focus for all policymakers, the Federal Reserve along with their laser focus on the stock market itself, even going to the point of chastising China for not handling its market crash better."
But then I made the mistake of finishing that commentary with, "But that doesn't mean we won't see DJIA 15,000 and/or more panic selloffs before then. One more whoosh down, maybe a -500 day on the DJIA or something with another wave of panic selling like we had back when we were able to sneak and add to our Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and other longs back when they got crushed on that -1000 day on the DJIA a month ago ¿ and I'll likely step up and buy more aggressively." (Amazon is part of TheStreet's Growth Seeker portfolio.)
So where does that leave us on our outlook for the markets now? What have you done for me lately, right? Part of the reason for admitting your mistakes is so you can let them go. I have to let go of the idea that the markets are likely to revisit their August lows. I don't care what the chartists say. I don't care what the pundits on TV and in print say. My own analysis has been pointing to higher stocks and I'm going to step up and do some more buying this week, scaling into some more long exposure. I'm not adding to Synaptics specifically, but I might go ahead and just get back into Netflix and some other names on my Buy List. I'll also just add another tranche or two to some of my highest-rated existing longs, like Twitter (TWTR). (Apple and Twitter are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.
Meanwhile, gold continues to rally off its lows set just a few weeks before stocks put in their own lows. I'm still holding my Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) call options that are up double from when I was buying them into the teeth of their decline a few weeks ago. That was me being totally independent and objective and acting on my own analysis. And making the hardest trade. I need to do more of all of those things. I think gold could run to $1,200, but I will be trimming more of those GDX calls along the way.