What Worked In 2011... And What Didn't

Back in mid-May just after the market had topped for the year, in a post titled "The Great QE Unwind Compression Trade(s)" we told readers to "focus purely on Utilities and Consumer Staples as the long leg in a compression trade, while shorting Industrials and Consumer Discretionary, leaving Financials alone (John Paulson's projections of Bank of America hitting $30/share by the end of 2011 notwithstanding)." Granted Financials were by far the worst performing trade of the year although with the possibility of a Fed bailout around every corner, it was imprudent to be short the sector (rather going long various unique opportunities such as MBIA proved to be a 100% return in months if not weeks). Instead, we referred to precious metals, namely gold, as a natural hedge against any potential Fed (and global central planner) stupidity. So how did anyone who followed our 2011 advice do? Well - the above three suggestions represented three of the five best performing sectors in the year (with the shorts not offsetting any gains). As can be seen below. Which we merely bring up to those who, counterfactualy, desire to brand this site as some fringe lunatic goldbug asylum. Which we are not saying it isn't: we urge most people to stay out of stocks entirely: the possibility of another flash crash is always present. For those for whom capital preservation is of paramount importance, precious metals are the way to go. But we realize there are those for whom career risk means being involved in stocks, and we realize that they represent a substantial portion of our readership. Which is why we try to be of use to everyone who comes here.