U.S. stocks are up again today, bringing the S&P 500’s bounce off the bottom to 63%. All those buy-and-hold 401(K) investors (and the advisers who told them to hang in) are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping that “normal” times are here again.
But the smart money is looking for a short-sale entry point. There’s no way to know whether this is it, of course, but each higher close brings us nearer to the level that we’ll look back on as the day we should have gone all-in. There’s also no way to know exactly what will set off the rout, but a few of the more reasonable possibilities are:
1) The dollar keeps falling, which eventually pushes up long-term interest rates (because who wants to hold long-term bonds that pay interest in a dying currency?) which in turn derails the corporate profit recovery.
2) Commercial real estate craters, taking bank profits with it.
3) The market simply exhausts itself. According to Elliott Wave International, U.S. stocks have just about wrapped up a wave 2 advance and will soon enter a big, nasty wave 3 decline.
Whatever causes the correction, the question is how best to play it. For this, my friend Jose Vargas has compiled a list of short exchange traded funds which can be bought like stocks and are designed to go up when all or part of the market goes down. It’s amazing how many choices there are these days, in terms of both leverage and specificity. But don’t let the variety overwhelm you. The day will come when everything on this list outperforms.