After a fantastic 2017, but a bumpy 2018 so far (especially after last week's mini-correction), stocks are still showing gains with the blue-chip Dow up 2.5%, the broader S&P up 3.5%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up by more than 8.5%.
While ongoing trade tensions with China have weighed on prices lately, our robust economy, historic tax cuts, record employment, strong consumer confidence, and surging corporate profits, point to continuing gains for the market.
And with October historically being the best month for stocks (in spite of its volatility), and with October, November, and December being the best three months in a row for the market, stocks are expected to surge into the end of the year.
So as an investor, you should be handily beating the market right now. Last year too. And planning on crushing it by year's end. If not, now would be a good time to reflect on what you're doing right in the market, what you're doing wrong, and what you'd like to do better for the rest of the year.
This includes patting yourself on the back for your successes.
Being honest with yourself for your failures.
And setting big goals for what you'd like to accomplish.
Like doubling your investment returns. (That's right, double!)
It takes no more mental energy to work on a big goal than it does to work on a small one.
But the end results can be enormous.
Most people set their sights on small ideas because they don't yet know how they'll achieve them.
But in today's day and age, somebody has likely accomplished the very thing you've set out to do -- and left a roadmap on how to do it.
And for those who may think the market has already made its move and it's too late, think again.
Continued . . .
Urgent Reminder: Zacks' Top 4 Stocks for Q4
You can still get in early by downloading our just-released Special Report today. These aren't just 4 promising stocks. They were handpicked from hundreds of strong companies by Zacks experts because they present the greatest upside over the next quarter.
1: New partnerships power cloud-based firm to stratospheric growth.
2: Turnaround predicted for stellar firm in unfairly pushed-down industry.
3: Already booming genetics giant leads a medical revolution.
4: Little-known small-cap with last 4 EPS surprises averaging +100%.
Don't miss this Ultimate Four report. Deadline to download is midnight Sunday, October 14.
See Stocks Now >>
The market has been trading within a perfectly defined uptrend since Q1 of 2009, with many believing this bull market could last another 5-10 years or more given the record economic growth.
With GDP more than doubling (the first 8 years of this bull market, annual GDP averaged 1.5%, and this year it's forecast at 3.1%), earnings estimates soaring, and consumer confidence at a 17-year high, the stage is set for another strong year in 2018. And with the bullish backdrop in place, that means significantly larger upside potential in individual stocks where you could see gains of 25%, 50%, even 100% or more, if you know where to look.
Do What Works
So which stocks should move the most? Stick with tried and true methods that work to find the best ones.
This is part of the roadmap to success.
For example, did you know that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buy have beaten the market in 24 of the last 29 years with an average annual return of over 25% per year? That's more than two times the S&P. But when doing this year after year, that can add up to a lot more than just two times the returns.
And did you also know that stocks in the top 50% of Zacks Ranked Industries outperforms those in the bottom 50% by a factor of 2 to 1? There's a reason why they say that half of a stock's price movement can be attributed to the group that it's in. Because it's true!
Those two things will give any investor a huge probability of success and put you well on your way to achieving your goals.
But you're not there yet, as those two items alone will only narrow down a field of 10,000 stocks to the top 100 or so. Way too many to trade at once.
So the next step is to get that list down to the best 5-10 stocks that you can buy.
Proven Profitable Strategies
Picking the best stocks is a lot easier when there's a proven, profitable method to do it.
And by concentrating on what has proven to work in the past, you'll have a better idea as to what your probability of success will be now and in the future.
For example, if your strategy did nothing but lose money year after year, trade after trade, over and over again, there's no way you'd want to use that strategy to pick stocks with. Why? Because it's proven to pick bad stocks.
On the other hand, if your strategy did great year after year, trade after trade, over and over again, you'd of course want to use that strategy to pick stocks with. Why? Because it's proven to pick winning stocks.
Of course, this won't preclude you from ever having another losing trade. But if your stock picking strategy picks winners more often than losers, you can feel confident that your next trade will have a high probability of success.
Stock Picking Secrets of the Pros
One of the best ways to begin doubling your returns is to see what the pros are doing.
There's no one perfect way to beat the market. Some traders prefer high flying growth stocks, while others prefer deeply discounted value stocks. Some may prefer fast-paced momentum stocks, whereas others are more comfortable with mature, dividend producing income stocks.
Yet others may want to focus on more specialized strategies like insider trading (the legal kind), institutional buying and selling, large-caps, small-caps, stocks about to surprise, or cheap stocks under $10.
Still others may want to turn their attention to specific sectors or industries like healthcare innovators, biotech stocks, or high-tech companies.
Or even incorporate options into their portfolio.
Regardless of which one fits your personal style of trade, just be sure you're getting the best advice from experts who have demonstrated their ability to beat the market.
I'm happy to say, our team of experts performed spectacularly last year, with many of our most popular strategies beating the market, including our Large-Cap Trader service, which was up 50.1%, my very own Options Trader service, which was up 46.3%, and our Black Box Trader service, which was up 37.9%, just to name a few.
The best part about these strategies (aside from the returns) is that all of the hard work is done for you. There's no guesswork involved. Just follow the experts and start trading like a pro.
Roadmap to Success
As you can see, there's a clear roadmap to success to help you achieve your goal of doubling your stock returns for the rest of 2018.
No need to reinvent the wheel. The path has already been created. Now it's just about doing it. And once you decide to do something, it's amazing how often those decisions come true.
And just like anything, it only requires a few simple steps to get the ball rolling.
Best Way to Get Started
What if you could look inside all of Zacks' private trading and investing portfolios for the next 30 days?
Imagine seeing the moves our experts are making -- in real time. So you can get in on them early.
That's exactly what I'm inviting you to do starting today. No other research organization offers anything quite like this Zacks Ultimate arrangement.
Here's more good news: Start now and you are welcome to download our just-released Ultimate Four Special Report free.
It includes 4 stocks that were each hand-picked by a different Zacks expert to have the greatest upside growth potential in this quarter...
Stock 1: Recent acquisition plus new partnerships, clients, and products are already thrusting this cloud-based firm to stratospheric growth.
Stock #2: Imminent turnaround is predicted for a company with stellar fundamentals in an industry that had been unfairly pushed down.
Stock #3: Already booming genetics giant is at the forefront of a revolution that will touch most of the world's population over the next 5-10 years.
Stock #4: Fresh off new highs, this little-known small-cap is on fire, with the last 4 EPS surprises averaging +100%. Projected growth for next year is a whopping 78%.
This is a great time to download our Ultimate Four for a lot of reasons.
First, the report has just been released and the earlier you get into these stocks the greater your potential gain.
Secondly, the Wednesday-Thursday pullback has created what I believe to be one of the best buying opportunities of the year.
Also, economic and historic indicators suggest that the market will surge from now through the holidays. A great tailwind for your investments.
Finally, it's important to get started now because the opportunity to download Ultimate Four ends midnight Sunday, October 14.
Look into Zacks Ultimate and get these 4 stocks today >>
Kevin Matras serves as Executive Vice President of Zacks.com and all of its leading products for individual investors. He is pleased to share our most promising stocks for Q4 in Zacks' Special Report, Ultimate Four.