Reese on Dealing with Downturns -- and Traffic Jams

In his latest column for, Validea CEO John Reese says market downturns can be a lot like traffic jams. And he says investors often shoot themselves in the foot by dealing with them the way that impatient, lane-changing, tailgating, drivers deal with traffic backups.

“One minute, the market is cruising along; the next a debt flare-up in Europe or a bad manufacturing report in China or a weak jobs number stop it in its tracks,” writes Reese. “And, just as in traffic jams, most people do whatever they can to avoid the short-term pain and worry they feel. They jump from one asset or sector to another when it starts to move upward (or when they simply have a hunch). They listen to the pundits on TV and the Internet, or even their neighbors and friends, trying to find some piece of information that will let them outsmart the market. In the end, all of the pundit-watching, short-term moves, and second-guessing leave them no closer to their financial goals. In fact, it often leads to selling low, incurring unnecessary trading costs — and a lot more stress and anxiety.”

Reese says that when trouble hits, it’s best to stick with long-term, proven strategies rather than jump in and out of stocks. He looks at five stocks his top-performing Guru Strategies — each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great — are high on right now. Among them: National Oilwell Varco, which gets high marks from his Benjamin Graham-based model.