John Buckingham of Al Frank Asset Management and The Prudent Speculator newsletter says that, as a contrarian, he’s been seeing a number of encouraging signs recently.
“Our market outlook as we head into 2013 remains one of cautious optimism for the prospects of our broadly diversified portfolios of undervalued stocks,” Buckingham writes in his latest Forbes.com column. “True, investor sentiment has improved somewhat … but bargains remain plentiful.”
Buckingham says that a number of good signs for a contrarian have emerged recently. “Whether it is a magazine story like Time’s recent ‘Stocks are Dead (and Bonds are Deader)’ feature or the fact that the American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey a month ago (November 15) was at one of its highest Bearish readings ever, we like to see a preponderance of pessimism,” he explains. “Certainly, it is not always the case, but time and again we have watched the equity markets post handsome gains (like we’ve seen since November 16) when few are expecting much in the way of positive performance.”
Recently, a survey of CEO confidence, a consumer sentiment index, and an index that measures “economic policy uncertainty” have been showing that confidence is low and uncertainty is high — and such signals have historically usually been followed by periods of nice gains for stocks, Buckingham says. He notes that there’s no guarantee the current contrarian signals will be followed by big gains. But he does offer a list of ten stocks that “have yet to have their day in the sun”. Among them: Tech giant Intel Corporation.