At last, we bid farewell to the stock market carnage that was August 2015, holder of the dubious titles “Worst Month on the Dow Jones Industrial Since May 2010” and “Worst on the S&P 500 Since May 2012.”
Way to go, August.
The Dow lost over 2,000 points, and is down 66% year-to date, with 20 of the Dow 30 down for the year.
Indeed, of those 20 stocks, 12 are down double-digits for the year, with this list of 20% losers: Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
Now, the calendar has turned. Can we exhale—even just a little? No way. Thus far in September, things look worse.
While the stock market may be officially in a correction, you may now consider those blue chip names in their own bear market.
At this point, what is there to be bullish about in the markets? Not much.
Whether it’s the optics involved in trying to analyze the magnitude of China’s economic slowdown, or worrying about the Fed’s response to market weakness, or concerns over the oil patch’s continued turmoil, signs of a change in market psychology are hard to find.
Weighing on that psyche heading into September is the knowledge that historically, it’s one of the worst-performing months on the calendar. Yardeni Research, Inc. recently published these charts that tell a sorry tale for those investors looking for some fall relief:
But all is not lost, especially if you’re into using the Blue Chip Bear as an opportunity to inch your way either back into stocks or start some new positions.
Take a look at where these six Blue Chip Bears are trading right now compared to their 52-week highs. At the same time, recognize that the p/e ratios are all below current market averages, while dividend yields are rich:
Sure, each of these companies has challenges ahead. Chevron is mired in lower oil prices. Intel hopes to maintain its dominance in the chip industry. Wal-Mart is parrying competition from every retailer in the market. United Tech needs greater strategic direction after selling its Sikorsky helicopter to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT).
However, there is still huge inherent and intrinsic value in each of these companies. J&J is still world leader in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry. United Tech’s services, aerospace, climate control and freight elevator segments provide financial diversification protection. Intel might be struggling but it’s still the world’s largest chip-maker. Wal-Mart’s marketing and retailing genius isn’t going away any time soon. DuPont’s research and development labs remain world-class.
In other words, these are stocks to look at for the long term, not just a really bad summer season.
Warren Buffett famously said “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” He put his money where his mouth is recently with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (NYSE: BRK.B) purchase of Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) and an increased stake in Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX).
Each is a leap in faith, given the state of the markets. Sometimes, that’s exactly what it takes to turn around the sentiment and make profitable long-term moves.
Today’s bottom line: Caution, for sure… but cautious optimism has a place in your portfolio, too.
Take a long look at these Blue Chip Bears, to start. Tweaking your existing holdings with incremental purchases isn’t a bad way to start September.
And remember: October is historically a better month.
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