as part of our
Global equity markets finished 2012 with a bang, and the S&P
500 ending the year up 13.4%. But what you might have
forgotten is that
virtually all of those gains came in the first quarter
. The S&P 500 rose 12.0% in the first three months of
last year and only managed to squeak out another 1.4% in the nine
months that followed.
Why do I bring this up? Simple. I don't want you to
see the 2013 monster opening-day rally and draw the wrong
I say this as a market bull. Overall, I do expect 2013 to
be another profitable year. But I also expect it to be
another year marked by political drama-both in Washington and in
the Eurozone-and the market volatility that comes with it.
Remember, this Fiscal Cliff deal solved
. It merely postponed a bigger debate about the debt ceiling
by two months. And both of these are minor compared to the
real fiscal crisis coming, which is the retirement of the Baby
Boomers and the stresses this will put on Social Security and
On the other side of the Atlantic, the threat of a Eurozone
collapse has receded, at least for now. But Europe's
stabilization has rested largely on two Italian men named Mario-ECB
president Mario Draghi and soon-to-be ex-prime minister Mario
I'm not too worried about Mr. Draghi; after dithering for
months, he has finally managed to instill some confidence in the
euro. But frankly, I'm terrified of what might come after Mr.
Monti leaves office. Monti was the first adult to lead Italy
since World War II, and he has almost singlehandedly calmed the
bond markets into financing Italy's gargantuan debts at a
reasonable rate. But what happens when he leaves…and the
infantile political theatrics start up again?
I guess we'll have to see.
In recent weeks, I've recommended that investors buy
master limited partnerships
and dividend-paying (and raising) stocks. Today, I'd like to
tell you how to incorporate these into a larger trading strategy
In a choppy, sideways market, there are two ways to make
money. You can actively trade, buying low and selling high,
or you can get paid via a consistent dividend stream. I
recommend a combination of the two.
In a moderately aggressive portfolio, put roughly 60% into
"core" holdings that you are content to hold on to through any
volatile rough patches. This is where I would place$ VIG and$ AMJ,
I recommended in late 2012. It would also be a good place for
REITs and other income-oriented plays.
With the remaining 40% of your portfolio, trade to your heart's
content. Go long, go to cash, or even go short. This is
where I would place more speculative bets, such as emerging markets
or stocks that you are trading as momentum plays.
Have a safe and prosperous 2013, and stay tactical!
This article first appeared on TraderPlanet.
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