THE BLOG
05/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Big Market Rally: Time to Get in?

March was one of the best months ever for stocks. Is it time for you to get in?

Fortunately, there are many "financial experts" eager to give you advice.

Mary Jane Matts is one of them. In a recent interview on CNBC, she advised investors to jump in and not to "over-think it."

She shared her stock picking strategies in a "choppy" market. It's really quite simple. She just buys the stocks that are the "cheapest." She looks for sectors that are the "most undervalued." She adds somewhat vaguely that she finds "the catalyst in the form of company-specific developments."

She even told investors which stocks meet her criteria, recommending United Health Group (UNH), Caterpillar (CAT) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ).

Voila! There you have it. A formula for stock picking success.

Ms. Matts is an expert at finding undervalued stocks. In an interview held August 16, 2006, she discussed how she found "anomalies... where the market is missing something." At that time, these "anomalies" included 3M (MMM), Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) and UST (UST).

3M was selling for $71.20 then. It is $52.11 now. Molson Coors Brewing was $70.15 then. It is $36.23 now. UST was $51.47 then. It was purchased by Altria Group in September, 2008 for $69.50 per share.

Ms. Matts has been at the helm of the Fifth Third Disciplined Large Cap Value Fund (FEINX) since July 25, 2005, no doubt seeking "anomalies" in the market that others have missed. It has been rough sledding.

According to Yahoo Finance, year-to-date, the fund is down a whopping 21.10%. It's trailing returns for the past three years (with Ms. Matts managing the fund) is a loss of 16.15%.

I am not sure what the market was "missing" during this period. The fund under performed its index in each year.

The pundits sound impressive and confident as they dispense their market views. They also look good, which is surprising.

I would have thought they couldn't sleep at night.

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