Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Speculation Opportunity

I am an advocate of setting up a permanent portfolio, as described in Harry Browne's book Fail Safe Investing.  However, I understand that some people want to speculate.  While this should make up a minority of your portfolio, I want to offer a couple of suggestions for speculation right now.

With the Dow above 13,000 again, it is likely that we are in the midst of a Fed-induced mini-boom.  While much of the growth is illusory due to the Fed's loose monetary policy and artificially low interest rates, it would not surprise me to see stocks continue to do well.  However, if this is the case, then I would expect price inflation to kick in more.  The scenario that would surprise me the most would be a continuation of higher stock prices with lower price inflation and lower gold prices.

Gold has been somewhat volatile, but it has been in a relatively narrow range for the last couple of months. Oil has been volatile and seems to keep going higher, with periodic backtracking in the price.

However, gold and oil stocks have been awful in comparison to gold and oil itself.  For some reason, gold and oil/ energy stocks have really suffered.  If you invested in them this time last year, you are probably down.

If the stock market keeps going up, I would expect that gold and oil stocks will catch fire at some point, especially if the commodity prices are rising.  It is a good time to buy low.

There is, of course, a chance that things could turn quickly and the stock market could go tumbling down.  While I think it is less likely in the near future at this point, it might be good to hedge your bets a little.  For every 2 to 3 dollars that you invest in gold and oil stocks, you can put one dollar into an ETF that bets against the stock market.  If you go into a double inverse fund like DXD or SDS, then you will want to invest only one dollar for every 4 to 6 dollars in oil and gold stocks.

There are two mutual funds through Fidelity that you can use to invest in oil and gold stocks.  The gold stock mutual fund is FSAGX.  The oil/ energy stock mutual fund is FSESX.  Both of these funds are down quite significantly over the last year, which makes them a potential bargain right now.

Remember that these are speculation plays.  They are risky.  If you want to be conservative with your money, then put it all in the permanent portfolio setup.  While there is no guarantee with that either, it is the safest thing I know of at this time.

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