"Now back to two o'clock!"
"Now back to 10 o'clock! ... I said 10 o'clock!!!"
"OK, good ... now back again to two o'clock."
"Forrrrrrward to 9 o'clock. And release!"
I can still hear the bus-stop jeers of the neighborhood kids mimicking my dad's front-yard fly-casting instruction.
Of course, neither they nor I knew I was becoming skilled in a sport that, owing to man-hunk Brad Pitt and his film A River Runs Through It, would actually be cool one day. Thanks to my dad, I was ahead of the trend ... way ahead, to be exact. And while my fly-fishing skills never brought me money, fame, or man-hunk status (well, maybe a little), they did bring me the sense of knowing something deeply that can only come through hard work.
So I owe my dad. I hate giving stock ideas informally, but when my dad asks, I give him my best -- hey, I want to put him ahead of the trend, too.
When he came to me recently, fresh off losses from brokerage recommendations like Microsoft
Man-hunk or not, I'm not generally a market-timer. Still, even I can't ignore the evidence in support of a blue-chip rally.
First, large caps are trading at a P/E of nearlyhalf what they were at five years ago. In other words, those who invest now stand to profit, should large-cap multiples tick up just a tad.
And while you've probably heard it said that $10,000 in Wal-Mart in 1975 is now $11 million, an investment in Wal-Mart three years ago would leave you down 17% today.
Other flagship large caps such as Ford
Even experts get excited
Robert Hagstrom, portfolio manager of Legg Mason Growth Trust and author of The Warren Buffett Way, has been getting a lot of recent press for his pro-large cap views; he notes that large caps have been the worst-performing asset class for seven straight years, implying that the stretch isn't likely to continue much longer.
Michael Mauboussin, chief investment strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management (to which both Hagstrom and investing legend Bill Miller commute), is also on the large-cap fan bus. He's quoted in The Christian Science Monitor as saying, "Large company stocks should play catch-up in 2006."
And ISI Group, an oft-cited research firm, is equally bullish on large caps these days.
So what to do now?
Easy. If you buy the logic above, increase your large-cap exposure. The path with the highest profit potential is to research and target selected large caps you believe will thump the market. As with all investing, it's a mixture of work, skill, and luck, but it can be tremendously fulfilling, and it's undoubtedly the way of the investing masters.
A great way to get started easily and relatively safely is through a large-cap ETF (exchange-traded fund). Think of ETFs as cheap, index-based mutual funds. There's no shortage of large-cap ETFs. You can read more about things ETF in our spiffy ETF center.
The Brad Pitt of stock reports
Not ready to fly solo, but don't like the thought of entirely handing over the reins, either? Capture the blue-chip wave through the latest fruit of The Motley Fool's analytical masterminds: our 2006 Blue-Chip Report. It has 10 well-researched blue-chip ideas, a blue-chip fund, and two bonus picks. Check it out right here. Will we repeat last year's pretty performance -- up 28% versus 13% for the S&P 500? We certainly hope so.
This article was originally published on July 28, 2006. It has been updated.