Don't sell in May, buy and hold instead…
Every spring, a musty old investment adage gets an airing, along with the beds. You know it by heart: "Sell in May, go away, don't come back 'til St Leger Day".
The saying dates to the days when City workers abandoned their desks to enjoy the season at Henley, Wimbledon and Ascot, leaving markets to loaf aimlessly through the summer.
I'm writing this in late March, so yes, it's rather early to start blowing the cobwebs off this dusty piece of wisdom. But frankly, this Fool can't wait until May.
Not that I'm planning to sell. I'm not even planning to go away either. And I'm not exactly sure when St Leger Day is, or whether I should write St Leger's Day.
So why am I looking forward to it? Because I suspect that this summer, like last summer, might be too good for a Foolish investor to miss.
The bull run triggered by Mario Draghi's long-term refinancing operation (LTRO) in mid-December now appears to be running out of steam.
Markets were also driven by positive US data, notably sharp drops in unemployment, but that is running out of puff as well. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has just warned that the jobs figures overstate the strength of the US economy.
This has reminded people that the US hasn't even begun to tackle its debt mountain ($15.6 trillion and counting), and won't make a start until the November election is over.
2013 could be a year of painful retrenchment across the pond.
Don't mention the double dip
To add to the gloom, UK house prices fell 1% in March, according to Nationwide, and the OECD rudely informed the world that we have just fallen into a double-dip recession.
No wonder the FTSE 100 tumbled below 5,750 on Thursday.
Perhaps May has come early this year. Judging by the recent weather, that seems likely.
All of which suggests that it soon might be time to go on a summer shopping spree.
It certainly was last year. On 8 August 2011, with the FTSE 100 grovelling around 5000, Maynard Paton urged his fellow Fools to "be brave… buy cheap shares".
As most investors donned their tin hats and gas masks, Maynard kept a cool head and wisely stated the simple case for buying everything today.
While I crowed that this was the buying opportunity I've been waiting for.
Afterwards, we were wondering what the likes of Neil Woodford bought in the summer slump, and grudgingly asking questions like why we didn't buy more cheap stocks ourselves.
Could we be in for more of the same this summer? Could be.
The big dipper
Like many of you, I like to buy on the dips. Everybody likes getting a discount. Buying on the down days is particularly important these days, given the slow and spluttering global recovery.
The UK isn't the only major economy in trouble. Just look at the unfolding Spanish tragedy. Or the China property syndrome. And those US debt numbers.
And don't forget to keep an eye on the rising oil price.
Markets are likely to be very choppy for the next year or two. So it's better to buy when the seas are looking particularly rough. Or when one of the world's major central bankers has just unleashed another liquidity splurge.
Markets can't rely on quantitative easing forever, but they can't do without it just yet.
Over a five-year timescale, I'm quite bullish. The UK may only grow 0.8% in 2012, according to the Office For Budget Responsibility, but after our slow start to the year, the growth is all ahead of us. And the OBR says we may even manage 2% GDP growth next year (although we may not).
I can't see a better place to put my money than high-yielding blue-chip stocks, especially given the returns elsewhere, alongside trackers to plug any gaps in my portfolio. The news that UK corporates are hoarding £750 billion worth of cash only stiffens my resolve.
But I like to buy those stocks when they are cheap. When most investors aren't buying, perhaps because they decided to sell in May and go away.
Summer has come early this year. I can scent plenty of buying opportunities ahead.
> Get the latest on investing and the markets, direct from the desk of David Kuo. You'll also receive a special free report on '10 Steps To Making A Million' if you join The Motley Fool Collective today.
More from Harvey Jones: