Protect Yourself from the Coming Sea of Change

The broad stock market averages have really done well lately. Some Wall Street investment firms have recently turned quite bullish on the market. I don’t really know what to make of the recent strength in the stock market. Frankly, I remain bearish on the medium-term prospects for stocks.

But I can’t deny the market’s price action. Most of the major market indices are hitting new highs right now, even as the price of oil hits $62 per barrel. I still believe that we are right in the middle of a bullish commodity price cycle and that this is typically a bearish atmosphere for stocks.

Clearly, however, the usual inverse relationship between commodity and stock prices isn’t happening right now. It makes me wonder if the stock market is setting itself up for a hard fall in the not-too-distant future.

The price of gold is strong and so are the prices of a lot of other precious metals. Energy commodity prices are strong, and even agriculture prices are solid. Yet, corporate earnings are growing at an impressive pace. This economy is just eating up the higher costs of raw materials, which is a real testament to the financial strength of businesses and consumers.

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My analysis at this point is that the current economic strength is still the result of the incredibly low interest rates we’ve experienced since 2001. It looks like the party is going to last a little while longer, but I can’t escape my bearish stance for the next several years, due in large part to higher inflation and high commodity prices.

Regardless, you can protect yourself and even profit from the coming sea of change in the equity market. You’ve just got to own some commodity-related stocks for the next several years. You don’t have to go overboard, but I would venture to suggest that a well-balanced equity portfolio in today’s market should include about 30% commodity related holdings. Add this to a few picks related to our previously discussed new energy investment theme, and you should outperform over the next few years.

Success in stock market speculation always has to do with owning the right stocks at the right time, apart from price action in the broader market. The place to be speculating right now is in the small-cap sector (my normal bias), and investors should consider a basket of stocks from a variety of market sectors, including new energy, commodities, and precious metals.