Oil up $11 in a single day. Bear Sterns (BSC) goes down 75% in 2 weeks, corn explodes on weather. Everything in the markets now happens in "Internet Time." This simply means that news that took days or weeks to get out to the masses and be reflected in asset prices (it doesn't matter whether it is stocks, corn, oil, mortgages, currency, steel, shipping rates, etc.) now gets passed around the globe via the news wires, the media and the Internet in an instant.
There are so many people sitting in front of a computer screen with so much money that price moves that used to take weeks now happen in hours or days. Despite the major market averages being down roughly 10% so far in 2008, there are still about 100 stocks up more than 100% (15 names are up more than 200%). Most of these are energy related.
The days of buying and holding a particular stock or asset class are pretty much over. The top performing mutual fund last year was Ken Heebner's CGM Focus Fund. His turnover? 384%!! Do you care if you made 80% on your money?
The top performing theme changes every year. Internet stocks, housing, financials, exchanges, solar, agriculture, steel, China, Brazil, commodities...it goes on and on. To stay a top performer you must be a trader (at least every year) and move at least part of your money into a new theme.
The world is changing so fast that buying and holding anything for 3-5 years seems downright crazy.
There is no place for stubbornness in investing anymore. To make big money we must stay flexible, be open minded and be willing to change our mind (just think...steel stocks stunk for 20 years and now are top performers).
Be happy...the more things change, the faster the moves and the more opportunity there is to profit from them. Avoid index funds like the plague (now flat for 9 years) and focus on change and big themes. There is a fortune to made made every year...if you look for it.