How to be Bearish and Still Pick Winning Stocks

There’s a great scene in the classic cult movie Office Space, where external consultants, known as the ‘two Bobs’, are interviewing staff members to see if they can cut some fat from the organisation.

There was one particularly nervy interviewee who was trying to defend his role. After realising that this guy didn’t actually do anything, one of the Bob’s asked — in the way that you sarcastically ask when you know the answer — ‘What would you say…you do here?

It’s a hilarious parody of both organisational inefficiency and the cold role of the management consultant. I often think of that scene whenever anyone asks what it is I do.

Not because I’m swanning around the place avoiding work and delegating. It’s just a funny way of thinking about the worthiness of your role. What is it that I actually do here?

I bring it up because recently I received an email from a long time reader. It offered some constructive criticism that made me realise you might not actually realise what it is I do here.

As you’re no doubt aware, The Markets and Money is a free daily email. You’re free to read it or not, and free to agree or disagree to the viewpoints put forward. Disagreeing is actually good. It tells you the ideas are at least challenging.

I simply try to write honestly about things I believe in and in ways you won’t necessarily read about in the mainstream press.

It is an editorial, which means you’re reading my opinion. In The Markets and Money, you’ll generally read about Australia’s economic situation and our pathetic political class, or the fragilities of the global financial system and the perils of over-indebtedness.

But it’s just an opinion. As such it contains inherent biases. I have a ‘bearish’ bias and believe that the world’s debt based financial system is a house of cards.

It was one such bit of ‘bearish’ commentary that elicited a response from a reader. It went along the lines of, ‘it’s all well and good to be bearish and say how bad things are, but how about helping us to make money in this market? We know it’s rigged by constant central bank intervention, but we still need to make an income and interest rates aren’t doing it for us anymore.’

Perhaps you’re thinking the same thing? That it’s all well and good to say how bad things are, but what should you do about it?

Well, that’s where our paid services come into it. Markets and Money is about ideas. It’s about telling you what we think of the markets and, where necessary, telling you about the inherent dangers that lurk. If you’re going to swim (or surf!) you may as well know there are sharks about.

So this is for those of you who may be wondering what else it is I do here…

Well, I write an investment advisory called Sound Money. Sound Investments. In it, I recommend stocks that I think will do well despite operating in what I consider to be a dangerous market.

More importantly though, I acknowledge that when it comes to the market, my opinion doesn’t really matter. Being a slave to a bearish bias means you miss out on opportunities that can make you good money. I take it into account, but I don’t let it dominate.

Since late last year, after making a few changes to my investment approach, I’ve recommended about 14 stocks to subscribers. Of those, 11 are in profit, with gains ranging from around 70% to 7%. The average gain is around 20%.

The three gold stocks in the portfolio are obviously underwater after the smash of the last few days (more on gold in a moment) but apart from that, the stock picks have performed very well.

This is a result of picking stocks that represent good value AND where the charts show that stock to be in an emerging uptrend (Quant Trader Jason McIntosh lends his expertise on the charting front). By following this process you can make good money and still be a grumbling bear.

In short then, in The Markets and Money you’ll get ideas about markets and economies and in my investment advisory (SMSI) you’ll get the stock ideas that hopefully will be profitable in an inherently uncertain and risky environment.

So, that is really ‘what I do here.’ If you want to check it out, you can take out a 30-day no obligation trial by clicking here.

Greg Canavan is a Contributing Editor at Markets & Money and Head of Research at Port Phillip Publishing. He advocates a counter-intuitive investment philosophy based on the old adage that ‘ignorance is bliss’. Greg says that investing in the ‘Information Age’ means you now have all the information you need. But is it really useful? Much of it is noise, and serves to confuse rather than inform investors. And, through the process of confirmation bias, you tend to sift the information that you agree with. As a result, you reinforce your biases. This gives you the impression that you know what is going on. But really, you don’t know. No one does. The world is far too complex to understand. When you accept this, your newfound ignorance becomes a formidable investment weapon. That’s because you’re not a slave to your emotions and biases. Greg puts this philosophy into action as the Editor of Crisis & Opportunity. He sees opportunities in crises. To find the opportunities, he uses a process called the ‘Fusion Method’, which combines charting analysis with more conventional valuation analysis. Charting is important because it contains no opinions or emotions. Combine that with traditional stock analysis, and you have a robust stock selection strategy. With Greg’s help, you can implement a long-term wealth-building strategy into your financial planning, be better prepared for the financial challenges ahead, and stop making the same mistakes that most private investors do every time they buy a stock. To find out more about Greg’s investing style and his financial worldview, take out a free subscription to Markets & Money here. And to discover more about Greg’s ‘ignorance is bliss’ investment strategy and the Fusion Method of investing, take out a 30-day trial to his value investing service Crisis & Opportunity here. Official websites and financial e-letters Greg writes for:


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