Don't Believe The Stories That The Markets Are Down Today

by: Richard Berger

You probably awoke to the news that Asian and European markets were down sharply in today's trading. You then were further rattled to learn that U.S. futures were set to open off, down over one percent. All these leading headlines are enough to make some investors fear that their portfolio is in jeopardy of taking a serious negative hit.

Forget all those news stories. Ignore the doom and gloom in the media for today. Unless most of your holdings are in the S&P500 index funds like SPY or heavily into gold or some of the other metals and major broad market indices, you do not own the broad market and so the news is not about you and your shares.

Now is the time to focus on your shares and your goals and objectives. If you are a dividend income investor, nothing happened at all today. Your dividend income is unchanged. You didn't invest in AT&T (NYSE:T) in expectations of it running up 10% today or next month or even in the next year. You invested for that $1.80 per share dividend income and that has not changed in the least today. Your holdings of Annaly (NYSE:NLY) are still dishing out $1.80 on every share also. Those shares of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will be putting $1.88 in your account on their next pay date too.

In fact, after we eliminate the hedge funds, the ultrashorts, and the gold and precious metal tickers, we can still find some big movers to the upside today. Genetic Technologies (NASDAQ:GENE) is up over 20% today. Theravance, Inc. (THRX) is giving investors a 19.3% uptick today. Spar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGRP) is rewarding shareholders with a 19.2% move to the upside right now. Ever-Glory International Group (NYSEMKT:EVK) is outfitted with a 12.2% gain at this moment. Magal Security Systems (NASDAQ:MAGS) is another 19%+ winner in this market. Mecox Lane Limited (NASDAQ:MCOX) currently logs in to the upside 13.3% in trading. Sprint-Nextel (NYSE:S) scores on another takeover player entering the arena and moving shares up 13.7%. VisionChina Media (NASDAQ:VISN) logs a 16% gain to show that all of China is not gloom. Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR) is delivering the right medicine with a 16% gain. These are just a small fraction of the over 300 companies posting big gains and new highs just on the NYSE today.

So, you see, it is not a down market, it's a mixed market just like any day. The key is holding the right shares for your own goals and objectives. Sit back and take a deep breath. Look at each of your holdings and ask if it was a good holding last Friday. If it was, then has anything changed about its fundamentals that makes it less so today? Do the shares still fit your long-term goals and make sense as tactical holdings to achieve your planned strategy? If so, then it is not an ill wind blowing woes your way. It is a time to consider buying at bargain prices when the dust settles. It is a time of volatility and therefore a boom time for traders of covered options. Increased market volatility means increased premiums on options. For writers of covered options this means increased returns and no increase in market risk from that which would be part of your normal course establishment of positions for the companies you want to own and the prices you would be willing to buy or sell the shares at. Take advantage of this volatility and high premium environment to stake out new positions using cash covered puts at the prices you are willing to own the stocks at. Write yourself some extra income by selling covered calls on shares you own at strike prices you would be willing to part ways with the company. If you are not familiar with and experienced in writing covered options then take the time to review many of my previous articles that include a covered option strategy for opening a position via writing cash covered puts or adding extra yield to a position you hold by writing covered calls on shares you own already.

Chicken Little may see the sky falling. Wise and disciplined investors will see opportunities raining down.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed securities dealer or advisor. The views here are solely my own and should not be considered or used for investment advice. As always, individuals should determine the suitability for their own situation and perform their own due diligence before making any investment.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.