In his latest column for Canada’s Globe & Mail, Validea CEO John Reese says that investors would be wise to focus on “high-quality” stocks, particularly given current market conditions.
Reese notes that in financial crises, “junk” stocks tend to get hit particularly hard, because companies with weak balance sheets are least likely to survive a depression or major recession. Fear drives their prices down, sometimes to irrationally cheap levels. Then, when the crisis passes and fears relent investors pile back into the “Armageddon-priced” stocks that have survived — that’s why junk stocks have led the rally that began in March 2009.
“A junk rally will only last for so long, however,” Reese writes. “Eventually, a company has to produce results in order for its stock to keep gaining.” Several top strategists have recently said that point has come for many stocks after the big junk rally, and that we’ll begin to see a shift from junk leadership to quality leadership (if we haven’t already), Reese notes.
While that may make it a particularly good time to target high-quality stocks, Reese says he prefers to look for quality in just about any market environment. Junk rallies do occur and can be powerful, but they are also highly unpredictable, he says. Focusing on high-quality stocks, however — those with strong balance sheets and solid fundamentals — gives you a chance of reaping sustained gains over the long haul. His Guru Strategies — each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great, including Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Martin Zweig — are designed to do just that.
Check out the full article for a look at some examples of high-quality stocks that currently get approval from one or more of Reese’s strategies.