As a kid, all I could think of when someone mentioned double-dip was ice cream. I wish it were still that way today.
With unstable housing prices and stubbornly high unemployment still major concerns, many companies remain cautious on their outlook for the rest of the year. Home improvement giant Lowe's
With stocks unable to make up their mind as to which way they want to go, we posed a roundtable question to our Inside Value members on the discussion boards in regard to this very topic. We asked our members for their opinions on the possibility of a "double-dip" recession as well as how folks are managing their portfolios in times like these. Here are some of the responses we got:
Shouclack, Inside Value member
I think there will be a so-called double dip, but not in the next 2 years to come. Why? Don't underestimate the craziness of political powers in the leading two years to mid-term elections and a presidential second term election.
Aside this, you have a loose cannon at the Fed that seems ready to do "anything" possible to avoid deflation (which is really what would be needed).
After that, when "anything" will be unsustainable anymore, then we will have our second dip...
The only unknown is the real recovery that can come from nowhere we can think of. It is always like that anyway... Will China up its currency, leading to a worldwide increase in output? Will the green tech have a major breakthrough freeing capital to be redeployable? Who knows ...?
I feel the odd of a ST double-dip to be really low...
Dan Goldberg, Inside Value Home Team Member
I've been adding in small amounts to some existing equity holdings on dips, but mostly I'm adding to my cash. Not specifically because of the economy or anything like that, which I don't have any specific insight into at this point on a short-term basis, but because I'm already overweight the things I think are worth buying at these valuations. The only thing I've sold in the past little while is some debt and some puts, and that was months ago.
Chuck Saletta, Inside Value Home Team Member
We've assured our emergency fund can handle four months of unemployed living expenses (including COBRA health insurance). We've paid off all our debts except our mortgage and continued pre-funding accounts for planned expenses. We used to pay off our credit cards every month by paying the balance due on each statement, but we've modified that slightly by targeting to have each statement close with a zero balance.
We are looking at alternatives to a savings account for our savings. For instance, we're thinking of using Treasury Direct to buy rotating short term T-Bills, since they are backed by the same government that backs the savings account, are just about as liquid, and often carry a higher yield than our savings account.
We've adjusted our investing strategy to assure the companies whose shares we buy have strong balance sheets as well as decent histories of rewarding their shareholders. But we're still investing in stocks, collecting our dividends, reinvesting those dividends in what look like good opportunities, and selling opportunistic covered calls when the valuations of both stock and option look attractive for the strategy.
The Foolish bottom line
The reality is that it's anyone's guess as to whether we will witness a "double-dip" recession or not. But there are many ways to manage your portfolio in order to maximize returns while minimizing risk during times of economic uncertainty.
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Inside Value analyst Jason Moser owns no shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Nucor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Lowe's, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.