Keeping Your Cool

Boy, what a week we’ve had! Canada’s benchmark index, the S&P/TSX Composite, slipped for five days in a row, and it was almost as if you could hear people crying. But, those with tears in their eyes could only have been market apprentices, with just a few years of investing under their belts. More seasoned investors probably shrugged the whole thing off as just another beating among many that have been and that will be.

The key is to keep your cool. When the China-driven bull market in commodities started a few months ago, institutions and ordinary investors alike could not get enough of Canada. Now, early birds are flocking to predict a correction in commodity markets of 20%, and even 30% by the time fall rolls around. I am just not so sure that there will be any “worms” to earn from this.

And, while I am as far as possible from calling it quits for Canada’s stock market, cashing in on some of the profits, as well as making certain shifts within your portfolios, may not be such a bad idea.

I already talked about index-investing, profiting from dividend- yielding instruments, and considering Canada’s income trusts. In addition, the mergers and acquisitions season is gearing up, placing quite a few profitable chips on the table. I also warned you to stay away from the financial sector because the credit cycle is shifting in reverse.

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Today’s suggestion for keeping your cool still has to do with diversifying, but within a specific sector. In spite of a pullback in the oil and gas futures market, I believe you should still stay invested in the energy sector.

However, reduce your exposure to oil and gas producers by switching to, for example, pipeline stocks and power producers. Of course, these companies are indirectly tied to the overall developments in the energy sector, but their performances are not as closely impacted by the volatility of oil and gas prices.