Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Don't Lean Out Over the Plate

Stocks look pretty good right now.  For all the reasons listed by Josh Brown here, the market looks like it could take off and do well over the last months of 2013.  Investors do need to careful, because any number of factors might make it less likely that the Dow will hit Jeremy Siegel's target of 17,000 by year end.

If you'll permit, I want to use an analogy from the movie Field of Dreams (warning: moderate spoilers ahead).

Archie Graham has just been knocked down by inside pitches twice, and he calls time to talk to Shoeless Joe Jackson.  Jackson asks him what pitch he thinks the pitcher will throw next.  Graham answers "either low and away, or in my ear."  Joe replies, "he won't want to put a runner on, so look low and away." As Graham walks back to the batter's box, Joe shouts out, "but watch out for in the ear."

Successful investing is a lot like that.  You may think you have a good idea what will happen, based on fundamentals, charting or whatever, but the market can always surprise you.  So don't leave yourself overly vulnerable.  Don't lean too far over the plate.

Archie does get the low and away pitch and hits a key sacrifice fly.  Which is better than being carried off on a stretcher.

It's a great movie.  The quotes are burned into my memory, so forgive me if they are off by a word or two.