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Stick to the Plan and Take Profits.

My record start to the year (up 50%) has been cut by 4 percentage points over the last two weeks. Sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth, but the feeling is never a good one.

We are living within the shattering gold fish bowl of doubt and ambiguity created by the White House. “Never bet on the news” they say – but what choice do you have when it is only the news and twittering news at that?

So here’s what I have done. I have:

– once more cut out stocks with any international reach.

– focussed on america centric companies with low debt, high ROE, strong expected growth and significant dividends. This is the only market to be in.

– consolidated my holdings in gold, now at 25% of the portfolio.

– transposed the portfolio 40% into cash.

and I want to add one other important directive. Take profits at 15% or earlier – it is likely the market will remain volatile. The WSJ and NYT have both carried articles recently showing how the market has been essentially flat August 2018 to August 2019. Holding on for the long haul will prejudice your winnings – keep taking profits off the table. All the best, James.

James Cooke is advisor to the King Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.