Last year was a profitable but volatile one for investors.
If you made good money and your portfolio is at an all-time high – as many readers told me lately – give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.
However, many investors floundered in 2023 – and it isn’t hard to see why.
2022 was a disaster. The S&P 500 dropped 20%. (And most stocks fell substantially more.)
Investors nationwide got a serious haircut.
Bonds didn’t provide much consolation. They had their worst year in history.
But today – with bonds having rebounded and the stock market near all-time highs – the haircut is just a memory.
Our portfolios look like the Fab Four in their prime again.
That’s because we’ve been on the right side of the market…
My first column last year was “Why I’m Bullish on 2023.” But I couldn’t fit in all my arguments.
So, my second column was titled “Other Reasons I’m Bullish on 2023.”
Most readers were having none of it – and let me know about it.
Market pundits everywhere were predicting that inflation would stay elevated, the Federal Reserve would push interest rates too high, and – as a result – the U.S. economy would fall into a recession.
Wrong. Wrong. And dead wrong.
While prices are certainly not down, inflation is moderating. The Federal Reserve has paused its rate hikes. And the economy grew at a better than 5% rate in the third quarter.
Of course, if you ran your portfolio based on someone’s scary forecasts, you haven’t even been in the game. You’ve been on the sidelines.
Yes, there are decent yields on money markets and certificates of deposit now. And gold has moved higher.
But these pale in comparison to the returns we earned in stocks and bonds last year.
All year long, I encouraged readers to step up to the plate.
In February, I was interviewed by longtime subscriber and bestselling author Bill O’Reilly.
Bill is a no-nonsense guy who rarely misses an opportunity to get right to the point.
He didn’t ask me about the near-term outlook for the economy, interest rates, inflation or the market.
(Perhaps he already knows that I’m not Miss Cleo at the Psychic Network.)
Instead, he got very direct: “Alex, what are you doing with your own money?”
And so I told him, as I recounted in my column “Why Bear Markets Are an Investor’s Best Friend“:
I’m buying high-quality stocks, just like I have in every market downturn over the last 40 years, including the crash of ’87, the Gulf War bear market in 1990, the dot-com bust, the post-9/11 meltdown, the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, and the COVID collapse in 2020.
I continued to touch on this theme throughout the year as the market gyrated.
However, I also took the time to share my thoughts on…
- The Three Essentials for Higher Investment Returns
- Professional Investors Are Bad… but Amateurs Are Even Worse
- How to Get Rich… With Dividends
- Follow What the Insiders Are Doing
- The Problem With Woke Capitalism
- Why You Are Richer Than the Wealthiest American Ever
- The Bubble I Never Thought I’d See
- Why the Stagnation of the Middle Class Is a Myth
- What Smart Investors Understand… and Most People Don’t
- Time Prices Prove America’s Prosperity
- How a Stock Goes From Good to Great
- Why Joe Biden Isn’t Responsible for the U.S. Economy
- Why Memory Dividends Generate the Highest Returns
- Why (Too Much) Cash Is Rash
- 10 Ways to Bulletproof Your Portfolio
- The Shocking Cause of U.S. Economic Inequality
- Why Stocks Are Up… Even Though Americans Feel Down
- How to Master the Art of Intelligent Speculation
- Small Stocks Exhibit the Best Potential
- Why Your Kids Hate Capitalism
- The Biggest Investment Risk You Face… and the Solution
- Why China Remains Uninvestable
- The Four Pillars of Health and Wealth
- Why Some Americans Are Rich (But Most Aren’t)
- Why Human Progress Will Soon Go Into Overdrive
- And much more…
My hope is these columns made you money, saved you money, or at least made you stop and think.
OK, so what did I get wrong?
If you’re one of them – an Oxford Club Member – you know our portfolios are doing well.
As I write, all 11 positions in our Oxford Trading Portfolio are profitable, with gains of as much as 103%.
All seven of the positions in our Profit Accelerator Portfolio are profitable, with gains of as much as 69%.
All six of the positions in our Oxford All-Star Portfolio are profitable, with gains of as much as 712%.
And all 10 recommendations in our Gone Fishin’ Portfolio are profitable, with gains of as much as 678%.
These numbers above don’t tell the whole story, however, because we stopped out of some stocks at a loss during the past year.
(That’s hard to avoid in a market that has been as volatile as this one over the last 12 months.)
There are also plenty of stocks that we sold for a profit.
However, in these columns I only discuss philosophy, strategies and tactics.
(The investment recommendations are reserved for Oxford Club Members.)
While I hope my advice about maximizing gains, reducing risk, cutting costs and minimizing taxes on your portfolio was useful, there is one corner of the market where things didn’t turn out as I expected: crypto.
I’m tempted to laugh at Bitcoin’s return from the dead last year. (The 150% run looked like a true zombie apocalypse.)
But the resurgence of crypto is actually tragic… and sad.
And in an upcoming column, I’ll explain why.