Fisher: Fears are Greater, but Risk is Lower

In his latest Forbes column, Kenneth Fisher offers advice for those who feel like the stock market is too risky a proposition right now.

“This is not an irrational fear; stocks that are off 50% from their highs (and a lot are, at this point) can keep falling,” Fisher writes. “But you can temper your fear by realizing that low prices make stocks less risky, not more risky. Unless there has been a corresponding collapse in its business, a company whose $60 shares are now at $30 is less risky for the investor.”

As for where to invest, Fisher reiterates his belief that the next bull market will be led by stocks in the energy, materials, industrial supply and consumer discretionary sectors, and offers up five picks: Alcoa (his article correctly predicted that Alcoa’s dividend would be cut, but says the stock is still a “buy”), Lafarge (LFRGY), Rexam (REXMY), Akzo Nobel (AKZOY), and Heineken (HINKY).

Fisher also has some advice for investors worried about Bernard Madoff-type schemes. “Every story ever about faked accounts, including those involving Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford … combines custody with decision making,” he says. “Once the portfolio manager has custody he can take the money out the back door. Some set up this way to embezzle. Others start out honest but later fall to the temptation to exaggerate their returns. Separating the two functions is a prophylactic. Without some grand collusion between the two firms, embezzlement is impossible.”

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