If the stock market selloff of the past week has perked your interest, give yourself a pat on the back. Markets are starting to fear a double-dip recession, and astute investors know to get greedy when markets get fearful.
Can there be a bigger selloff? Absolutely. But there are always
opportunities in the market, whether in bombed-out individual stocks or in strategies to play the game of investing differently than most market participants.
Three strategies come to mind to take advantage of the latest market opportunities:
1) Options: Buy Calls on What You Own, Sell Puts on What You Want to Own
On May 31, I wrote
about my recent purchase of the market vectors junior gold miners ETF (GDXJ). Since then, the share price has bounced around, but essentially gone nowhere.
Meanwhile, the calls I wrote on this position have lost most of their value, as it is now much less likely that the position will be called away. That means I’ll be able to keep the option premium when my calls expire, and I can then write another call a few more months out.
This strategy isn’t as exciting as shooting for a stock to double or triple, but it’s a great and consistent way to make money in sideways markets.
For those who seem to perpetually put off buying “until things get cheaper,” consider selling put options. This helps cash-heavy investors move into larger stock positions as markets decline. And if markets should turn around, the value of the puts will decline and investors gain the premium.
2) High-Yield Investments: Look Beyond Blue Chips
Many investors lose capital in investing when they focus on quick capital gains. This overlooks income opportunities, especially in higher-yielding sectors that have sold off with the market. This includes areas such as real estate investment trusts (REITs), energy-related master limited partnerships (MLPs), and preferred shares.
Not only do some of these investments offer higher income, but some also can offer tax benefits. Part of the distributions from MLPs, for example, can count as a “return of capital” and as such aren’t subject to dividend taxation.
In today’s low-interest rate environment (with no end in sight), higher income investments offer investors better cash returns
3) Precious Metals
Finally, investors should look at precious metals in this environment. The recent debt ceiling bill does little more to solve America’s long-term fiscal problems. That’s bad for the dollar.
Meanwhile, several countries in the Eurozone are facing a debt crisis, and every major bank in Europe has substantial exposure.
Simply put, there’s a crisis of confidence in paper currencies right now. That’s why investors should hold some gold and silver. A 5-10% position should be a bare minimum for investors even in the best of times as a hedge against uncertainty.
Precious metals holdings should include at least some physical gold and silver. Rising prices of the metals sparked margin hikes in June, forcing leveraged buyers to close out at any price possible.
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