Days like yesterday are clearly driven by emotion. In the last couple of weeks concern was mounting about the near term prospects for stocks maybe even to the point of there being fear.
One reader left a comment related to the 2% rule asking whether this was shaping up to be a fast decline not a slow rolling over which is how bear markets tend to start. Remember we are about two months from the market's peak and the 2% rule pertains to an average 2% monthly decline for three months in a row.
People always want to hear predictions about what will happen and while a couple of weeks ago I said on CNBC I thought there would be something of a back slide in the market in the immediate term I don't think the next bear will start until well into 2013 or maybe 2014.
To the above question about the 2% rule, more important than predictions or guesses in my opinion is discipline to whatever it is you do. If you hold on no matter what then you should hold on no matter what. If you use some sort of trigger point for defensive action then you should stick to that. The time to change what you do is not on the fly after your trigger point has been breached as chances are you were less emotionally involved when you mapped out your defensive strategy.
The defensive action we took so far in large accounts amounted to getting rid of names that had not been doing very well but served to increase our cash position allowing us the flexibility to take more serious defensive action or if things go the other way to get more long the market.