Crista Huff

In my personal portfolio, I'm starting to see tech stocks showing distinct strength, followed by energy-related stocks (oil service companies and the like). I'm seeing upside volatility in steel stocks, meaning they’re not for the faint of heart, but I believe the next move is back toward early-2011 price ranges. And financial stocks are also showing signs of upside life.

A few weeks ago, I published a list of stocks which I’d be willing to buy if they dropped to specific prices. (Click on the free trial subscription offer on the home page if you can’t access the article.) Since that day, I succeeded in buying Microsoft (MSFT) at $26.00, Target (TGT) at $53.00, and Intel (INTC) at $23.48. (I hadn’t had any tech stocks in my current portfolio prior to those purchases.)

Today at 1:50 PM Mountain Time, I received a text showing me that Avago Technologies (AVGO) had fallen to $32.00, followed in quick succession by a text telling me that American Express (AXP) had fallen to $48.25. That gave me nine minutes to make a buy decision.

I’d already researched the stocks and decided the prices I’d be willing to buy them at. The only thing left to do was to check the news and make sure nothing disastrous had just happened to either company, or to the stock market in general.

I couldn’t find any ugly news, and the stock market averages continue to recover nicely from the big drop in August/September 2011, so I bought shares in Avago.  

In determining which stock to purchase, I looked at the likely total return over the next six months, and Avago has a wide enough trading range that I might make twice as much in that stock near-term as I would in American Express.  Plus, tech stocks are showing much more strength than financial stocks right now, so I went with Avago.

Have you been buying low?  

It requires a little homework.  First, you’ve got to identify healthy, growing companies.  Then, determine a fair price at which you’d be willing to buy.  Lastly, put in a buy order (or an alert) at that price.  My account at Morgan Stanley allows me to key in alerts under all kinds of circumstances, including target prices, new highs/lows, news, stock splits and more.  When the stock reaches these targets, I get a text message, at which point I can decide whether or not to take action.

Crista Huff

Crista Huff is a retired stockbroker from a NYSE member investment firm. She writes about market-timing at Goodfellow LLC and is active politically.
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