2011 was a very volatile year. We had many days where market moved either up or down more than 1%. Especially in the second half of the year, DJI moved 100 or more points in roughly half of the trading days.
When we started 2012, everybody was expecting the same. In fact, market moved by 2% in the first trading day and it was in the green territory. However, things have slowed down a lot since then.
As improving data was coming from US, the worsening data coming from Europe was partly offsetting it. While individual stocks are moving in big chunks, the index itself has been very low in volatility since the second day of the trading.
Some of 2011's biggest losers, such as Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Ford (NYSE:F) experienced strong rally, whereas strong performers of 2011, such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) saw some profit taking or flattening. Meanwhile, almost everyday DJI and S&P indexes finished the day within 1 percent of the open.
This may be good news for long term investors who are tired of volatility, but at the same time bad news for daytraders and short term investors like myself.
It seems to me like as investors watch the some of the stocks rally, they want to join in, but they can't decide on an entry point. For example take Chipotle (NYSE:CMG). Many people want to initiate or increase their long positions with the company, but not many people are sure what would be a good entry point. Do we wait until the stock plunges or do we buy it while it's rallying? What if we miss the rally? Or what if we end up buying at the end of the rally?
People saw how the market rallied well into 2008 and then plunged badly. They also saw how the market rallied from 2009 to 2011 and what happened in starting August of 2011. Investors have mixed feelings of the market, just like market itself. While Warren Buffet says "Be greedy when everyone else is fearful and be fearful when everyone else is greedy" what do investors do when everyone else is cautious and confused?
I believe that until things clear out, the best bet is to go long in stocks that recently got oversold and overpunished Tiffany's (NYSE:TIF), Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI), Carnival Cruise (NYSE:CCL). This has been my strategy and it's been paying off recently.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.