We've spent much of 2020 talking about how to cope with or prepare for a stock market crash. In fact, many investors anticipated that stocks would take a major turn for the worse following the results of the recent presidential election.
But right now, stocks are soaring, and we can attribute that to positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front. Last week, Pfizer (PFE -0.61%) announced that based on its assessment of its phase 3 trials, its coronavirus vaccine has shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing infection. And now, Moderna (MRNA -0.18%) has announced similar preliminary results, stating that its vaccine candidate has shown itself to be 94.5% effective. These efficacy rates, if proven accurate, will exceed health experts' initial expectations.
Not shockingly, the stock market has reacted quite favorably to both Pfizer and Moderna's news. But where does that leave you as an investor? Soaring stocks prices can actually make it more difficult to buy than when the market tanks, but here are a couple of moves you may want to make in the near term.
1. Dump losing investments while they're not quite as down
If you have investments in your portfolio that have been underperforming for quite some time, you may have already come to the terms with the idea of having to take a loss on them. And to be clear, that's not necessarily a terrible thing. From a tax perspective, capital losses offer the opportunity to offset capital gains as well as ordinary income. But still, your goal as an investor should be to minimize your losses, which is why now might be a good opportunity to unload losing stocks that aren't down quite as much as they were earlier in the year.
Remember, too, that while encouraging news on the coronavirus vaccine front may lead to rising stock prices, the underlying pandemic is raging, and bad news in that regard could quickly bring stock values back down. As such, if you're going to get rid of losing investments, you may want to act quickly.
2. Stick to your regular investing schedule
When stock values are up, many investors shy away from adding to their portfolios. After all, no one wants to get stuck buying high and selling low. However, if you don't expect to need to sell anytime soon, then buying stocks in the near term could still result in you coming out ahead financially. The key, however, is to keep an eye out for quality stocks -- those with the greatest growth potential -- and plan to hold any stocks you buy in the near term for many years, since we don't know if the market will dip back down in the coming weeks or months.
A stock market that's performing well is a good thing in theory, but a challenging thing to navigate. While it's true that buying opportunities tend to arise during periods of market decline, you can still work today's market to your advantage if you go about it the right way.