A great book to understand the behavioural reasons why investing is best not left to intuition is this one by James Montier -The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How not to be your own worst enemy (James Montier) He quotes Jeremy Grantham, chief strategist of GMO, who penned the following: “As this crisis climaxes, formerly reasonable people will start to predict the end of the world, armed with plenty of terrifying and accurate data that will serve to reinforce the wisdom of your caution. Every decline will enhance the beauty of cash until, as some of us experienced in 1974, terminal paralysis sets in. Those who were over invested will be catatonic and just sit and pray. Those few who look brilliant, oozing cash, will not want to easily give up their brilliance. So almost everyone is watching and waiting with their inertia beginning to set like concrete. Typically, those with a lot of cash will miss a very large chunk of the market recovery. There is only one cure for terminal paralysis: you absolutely must have a battle plan for reinvestment and stick to it. Since every action must overcome paralysis, what I recommend is a few large steps, not many small ones. A single giant step at the low would be nice, but without holding a signed contract with the devil, several big moves would be safer. It is particularly important to have a clear definition of what it will take for you to be fully invested. Without a similar program, be prepared for your committees enthusiasm to invest (and your own for that matter) to fall with the market. You must get them to agree now quickly before rigor mortis sets in. . . . Finally, be aware that the market does not turn when it sees light at the end of the tunnel. It turns when all looks black, but just a subtle shade less black than the day before.
Hope this helps in the current environment when the bears our out with talk of double-dip recessions and bad news stories – which always sell more papers as we feed on fear.