Stay Picky with Your Stock Selections

The stock market is in a very fragile state right now and any bad news makes all long investors very vulnerable.

It’s the combination of bad news that’s really pulling the broader market down. Despite a little respite, oil prices are back in record territory. Consumer confidence is low and investor sentiment is low. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in jeopardy. Inflation is a concern. Investors are worried about earnings. The list goes on and on.

With this backdrop, we aren’t likely to see any recovery in the main stock market indices for quite some time.

So, if you’re a speculator in this market, you have to be not only patient, but also extremely picky about which stocks you choose to invest in. When the whole market is going south, it makes it extremely difficult to generate capital gains (unless you’re short).

My feeling is that the current turmoil is going to be with us at least for the next few quarters. Often, the fourth quarter is strong compared to other quarters, but with the election coming, anything could happen.

General Electric Company (NYSE/GE) remains the benchmark stock in this market. You aren’t going to see a turnaround in the broader market unless GE leads. Also worth watching is Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE/HPQ) and The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE/HD). The market isn’t going to move without these stocks moving commensurately.

I’m frustrated with what’s happening in the oil market. There are too many banana republic oil-producing countries out there and, as the price of the commodity moves higher, this only serves to put more money in the hands of these non-democratic, power-hungry dictatorships. It’s like a vicious cycle and I don’t see that it’s going to end anytime soon.

Also, with oil around $150.00 a barrel, big oil companies don’t want to spend billions looking for more oil because they are too busy counting the profits from existing operations. This is another cycle that’s going to hurt us all in the end.

It’s no wonder there’s a bear market in stocks.