Crying "Uncle!"

Sell in May and walk away

As the saying goes, If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Observers of the stock market have also noted that the summer months generally produce lackluster returns, and this has given rise to another maxim: Sell in May and walk away.

Since January, the markets have gone nowhere but down. The DJIA is down about 5%; the Nasdaq is down about 6%.

DJIA and Nasdaq indexes year to date

My own results have been even worse. Although I've tried to shift my strategy a bit in accommodation to the vagaries of the market, it hasn't been successful. I've just gotten caught in too many sudden sell-offs for no apparent reason. I can only surmise that all the turmoil in the world has got everybody spooked.

I'm crying "uncle!" and putting my shovel away. I have put trailing-stops on all the stocks in my portfolio. If they go up, terrific; the stop will move up. But if they go down, the stocks will sell. I'm still well up from where I started a year and a half ago, but there's no point in watching it all drip away.

Sell. Rather than write up each stock separately, I'm simply going to summarize in a table. Que sera sera.

StockBought onBuy priceSold onSell priceGain (-Loss)
AIRN04-Mar-04$5.5017-May-04$4.85-12%
AIRN05-Mar-04$6.3017-May-04$4.85-23%
BLUE15-Oct-03$6.0219-May-04$4.25-29%
BLUE6-Nov-04$5.4019-May-04$4.25-21%
BLUE09-Jan-04$5.3019-May-04$4.25-20%
CAPA03-Feb-04$5.5018-May-04$5.5936+2%
CZR10-Mar-04$13.3519-May-04$12.79-4%
CZR12-Mar-04$12.7519-May-04$12.79+0%
CZR17-Mar-04$13.1119-May-04$12.74-3%
CZR04-May-04$13.5019-May-04$12.74-6%
EWJ30-Mar-04$10.7517-May-04$8.93-20%
EWJ05-May-04$10.4117-May-04$8.93-17%
HDTV03-Feb-04$5.3518-May-04$4.05-24%
HDTV08-Mar-04$4.9018-May-04$4.05-17%
IPIX06-May-04$9.0017-May-04$7.76-14%
IPIX07-May-04$8.2517-May-04$7.76-6%
LVLT25-Sep-03$5.5018-May-04$3.42-38%
LVLT06-Nov-03$5.4118-May-04$3.42-37%
LVLT06-Jan-04$6.2018-May-04$3.42-45%
SONE06-May-04$8.9520-May-04$8.46-5%
TLCV23-Apr-04$12.7817-May-04$9.86-23%
ULGX06-May-04$11.7517-May-04$10.68-9%
VASC05-May-04$13.4517-May-04$11.56-14%
ZRAN04-Jun-03$20.7417-May-04$16.392-21%