What Do You Do When the Stock Market’s Fully Valued?

“Ahead of the Street” Column, by Mitchell Clark, B. Comm.

There are select trading opportunities in the stock market right now, but most of the good companies have already gone up in price. In my view, there isn’t a lot of value in the stock market at this time. Most of the attractive sectors of the stock market have now made a full price recovery since the financial crisis. So, other than a few China trades, I wouldn’t be buying anything right now.

A lot of investors who missed gold’s big move are clamoring to get in, but I don’t think we’ve seen enough correction in the spot price to justify new positions. Domestic technology stocks have gone up in price and so have a lot of the big brand name companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This stock market is fully valued and the pickings are slim. To me, the broader market seems tired.

So, what do you do when the stock market is fully valued? The answer is nothing. You wait. You watch. You research. As my father always says, the world is emotionally driven. The same can be said for the stock market. Enthusiasm for stocks occurs in waves and we’re close to finishing an enthusiastic recovery wave from the March low. This most recent wave or trend is all based on expectations for the future. Companies will have show some decent revenue and earnings growth in the first half of 2010 or the market
will be in serious trouble.

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My best guess right now is for Dow 11,000 in the first quarter next year. After that, I find it difficult to believe that earnings growth will be robust enough to carry stock prices much higher throughout the rest of the year. If I were to attribute a research rating to the market right now, I’d say hold. I wouldn’t say buy and I wouldn’t say sell. When my enthusiasm changes, I’ll let you know.