Ron Finke: What do elections mean for investors?
On Nov. 4, I predict many will be surprised and distraught, whoever wins. Many will not like the outcomes. I will be surprised if we do not know the winner on that day, but investors of either stripe may sell. If there are legal challenges, confusion will reign and investors will sell. Should you try to protect your investments? If so, what can you do?
If you are already an ultraconservative investor, you should probably make no changes. In times of great stress, quality fixed-income positions usually win the day. More aggressive investors may plan ahead to purchase the kinds of funds that actually rise when others fall. My purpose today is to provide you either with confidence in your current portfolio or with information about alternatives to consider.
In the most recent panic, earlier this year, the big winners were the leveraged inverse mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). For example, the ProFunds UltraShort Mid-Cap Investor Fund gained 133 percent from the stock market top on Feb. 19 through March 23. Then as the indexes began to rebound, it dropped like a rock. By April 9, about 47 percent of that gain had disappeared.
Obviously, these tools are scalpels and will cut both ways. But they are methods that the wealthy often use to protect what they have. Other inverse positions exist which have no leverage, no multipliers. For example, the Rydex Inverse S&P 500 Strategy Fund rose by over 41 percent during that downdraft. It had also lost about 41 percent of that value by April 9.
What if you have a diversified portfolio of mutual funds within a particular fund family? Many of them will have a government bond fund or high-quality bond fund. For American Century funds, the best haven was its zero-coupon 2025 Fund which gained almost 4 percent. For American Funds, the US Government Securities Fund gained just over 5 percent. The Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Fund rose by almost 12 percent before resuming a sideways pattern (and is now about 4 percent lower than its top).
Remember that no sustained bull or bear moves occur in one day. If you choose to make no adjustments, within a few days or weeks after the election, we will either see a resumption in the bullish market since late March or alternatively a bearish trend developing. However you choose, take time now to discuss strategies with your financial adviser, well before election day. Do her or him a big favor – do not wait until Nov. 2!
Next week, Luke Davis will discuss the proposed tax changes that may cause some upset.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations.)
(Statistics from Worden Bros., Inc., TC2000 software, 2020.)
Ron Finke is president of Stewardship Capital in Independence. He is a registered investment adviser. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.