Forester Cautious and Defensive

Fund manager Tom Forester released his third quarter commentary earlier this month, and his message was one of caution.

“As risks have increased, we have increased our protection,” Forester wrote. “If risks subside or are priced in, we will gladly reduce our protection. But until the market more fully reflects these risks, we will remain cautious.” According to Forester Value’s site, the Forester Value Fund had 23.5% of its portfolio in cash as of the end of the third quarter. Consumer staples (20.2%) and healthcare (14.3%) were its biggest sector holdings.

Forester expressed concern that the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing plans have not been helping much with job growth, and that the “wealth effect” championed by the Fed has also had a limited impact. He’s also concerned about inflation.

Forester, writing before the recent spate of weak earnings reports, was also concerned about corporate profits. “We think that it will be difficult to grow revenue and that the easy cost cuts have already been made,” he said. “So we see earnings headwinds. For global companies though, a depreciating US Dollar makes foreign earnings worth more. Is that why the Fed announced an open-ended money printing program?”