Forget Buy & Hold – Here are 3 Easy Steps to Actively Manage Your Investment Risk

BY BRENT W. COLLINS

An important debate is still unfolding amongst investors and advisors – Is Buy & Hold dead? Does it really still make sense to buy a stock or ETF and ignore statistically significant signs that risk could seriously threaten your returns? While some say “Don’t do anything, just stand there!!” others, like SmartStops.net, argue that technical indicators are an effective way to continually monitor your equity investments be ready to respond to risk. The trick is how to most easily and effectively monitor a broad portfolio and quickly respond to the most relevant statistical trends.

Buying and then holding (ignoring all market trends, often until your personal situation dictates the need to sell) is an investment strategy that worked when the economy was stable and consistent growth was the norm, but that was then… Now, we investors face a range of threatening factors, such as: historically low interest yields, unemployment, housing sector troubles, slowing growth in foreign markets, governmental gridlock, and the list goes on.

US stocks are now less than 10% away from its historic closing high achieved in October, 2007. The CBOE’s Volatility index (VIX), a.k.a. the fear index, is over 15, which is up 3% over the last 5 days, but down 35% from exactly a year ago. SmartStops’ Risk Barometer Index (SRBI), which tracks statistical market and sector risk based on triggered exit signals, is at .91 for the S&P 500, recently moving below its 100 day moving average. The financials SRBI at .70 is one of the few sectors that has also moved below its 100 day moving average.

Let’s not yet forget the unpleasantness experienced only last year, where the S&P 500 finished the year only a point away from where it started, with its highest point up 8% and lowest level down 12%. Going back further than last year, shows much greater volatility that erased profits from unprepared investors and advisors.

The bottom line: if you have stock or ETF investments, don’t ignore them. Economists are sending a consistent message that the economy and equity markets face a tough uphill battle with increased volatility. If you want to earn and protect profits, keep a vigilant eye on your stocks and ETFs. Make sure you are always prepared to respond when abnormal volatility is present and a downtrend can be detected.

Here are 3 easy steps you can take with SmartStops.net to maintain continuous risk perspective on your portfolio and be ready to take action if needed:

1) Register your portfolio with SmartStops.net to be continuously monitored.
SmartStops.net continually monitors member portfolios, sends alerts or places sell orders through partner brokers when a position displays significant risk of further decline. SmartStops exit triggers are calculated each market day using sophisticated analytics that dynamically adjust based on technical market factors, historic trends and optimal exit methodology.

2) React to statistically significant risk probabilities with automated alerts.
Once you get a SmartStops RiskAlert, your next step is to take a look at related market news and data. Consider alternative steps you might take such as: selling all or part of a position, hedging with options, buying more (sometimes the market overreacts!), or talking to your advisor.

3) If you are ready to sell, use SmartStops BrokerLink to automatically and immediately lock in profits.
SmartStops.net has partnerships around the world that integrate the intelligently adjusting exit triggers into leading broker platforms so continuous and effective sell triggers can be easily maintained. The latest broker to introduce this risk control service integrated with a trade platform is TradeKing.

So, stop reliance on Buy & Hold! If you don’t make the effort to manage your investments when volatility starts to increase and momentum goes negative, you are making the choice to participate in a downtrend that can be avoided. Why participate in major downtrends when you can take action and improve your profit or minimize loss? Services like SmartStops.net provide an easy, effective way to manage your own investment risk.

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About SmartStops

We are a new service launched to the market in July of 2008. Our mission - to help ensure stock and etf investors stay protected in their positions at all times. see www.smartstops.net

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