Big market selloff days are often times people shoot off their mouths -- take, for instance, presidential contender Michele Bachmann, who today said were she to be president, gas prices would go back down to $2 per gallon.
My first thought is that oil is already headed down on global recession fears -- be careful what you wish for -- two dollar gas could easily happen, if we were in depression.
Then the president, last night in a television interview, saying that there is no way we are in recession. I hope he's right. I pray he's right. But I am afraid he may be wrong.
Look, wishing and hoping isn't a way to profit right now. And, campaign promises aren't going to fill your 401(k). But there are opportunities in all markets, even this one.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not recommending specific stocks. I'm not even recommending buying right now. But what I am saying is this -- stocks aren't worthless. And, some investments are getting hammered now for no good reason.
Take for instance, these S&P stocks: these companies are trading at their lowest price in at least a year, and have annual earnings-per-share growth of at least 10%.
Yes, they have their issues -- but do they deserve to be deep into correction trading at eleven times earnings? And, take the Dow stocks -- today's massive selloff left all 30 in the red today. Only eight of them are higher for the year... all classic defensive style stocks.
Price-to-earnings ratio on the Dow industrials? A measly 10.7. Look, there is a danger for investors being too conservative here. Keep in mind, if your money is on the sidelines in a conventional money market fund earning -- say, three-one-hundredths of a percent, even the best performers are only paying five-one-hundredths of a percent.
By comparison, some money market funds once paid as much as 5%-- that was before the mortgage meltdown and recession. Certificates of deposit are equally unimpressive.
With news today consumer-level inflation is up half a percent -- you're flirting with having the value of your money eroded away as you wait to get reinvested. Sitting on the sidelines has costs -- it's not free and not without risk.
I'm not suggesting you dive headfirst into investments you're not familiar with or don't understand. But the reality is this: any strategy has risks.
And, if you think you're sitting this one out -- well, you may be sadly mistaken.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.