Roger Nusbaum submits: Although it may not feel like it, the market is only down half a percent for the year. No doubt the last few days have been ugly and it may get uglier.
It is times like right now that I have been writing about so often. Panicked selling of many stocks right here is probably a bad idea. A plan for selling, getting defensive, protecting assets, whatever you want to call it has to be made when your are not emotionally taxed, and then applied when you are emotionally taxed.
I write about not being emotional with managing your portfolio, but that is difficult for most folks. My telling you "I'm not worked up, so you shouldn't be either" may not be helpful. Knowing you devised a strategy and all you have to do is stick with it might be more helpful.
For more unhelpful input, I would add that the market goes down sometimes. At the nadir of the Spring selloff, the S&P 500 bottomed at about 1220. It closed yesterday at 1242.
In trying to ferret out what is really going on, I would suggest a 30,000-foot view. I have been writing about concerns I have had for awhile that may or may not be playing out now or may yet play out in the future. None of the catalysts that have been concerning me require any keen insight. The logic either made/makes sense to you or it doesn't. The idea is that sometimes a sniff test does the trick.
Just because the sniff test gives a bad result does not mean anyone one should make a huge bet like 100% cash or 100% short or something else. We are down a little.
Six months ago, as you thought about the new year, how would you want to have been positioned in the face of a small downturn? Are you positioned that way now?