Part 3

Commodities and Industry Sectors

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Now, if you’re doing your research, you will quickly notice something about that Union Pacific recommendation: While we still stand behind the reasoning behind our suggestion and (believe it to be a solid long-term play), the fact is that if you had purchased Union Pacific when we recommended it, you would have lost money for the year. On March 11, 2022, $UNP closed at $261.52. By market close of the last trading day of 2022, it had fallen by more than 20%. Union Pacific remains a strong company that reported Q3 2022 earnings and revenues that beat expectations, but the company continued to be dogged by macroeconomic headwinds, and its stock price was further hurt by fears of a railroad strike leading into the 2022 holiday season (which were averted at the last minute.)

Commodities and Industry Sectors
Source: Yahoo! Finance

There is an unfortunate truth to be learned here, one that even the seasoned veteran strategists and stock pickers here at FS Insight must grapple with every day: You can make the right call about a company, and it can still not work out.

One way to improve your chances of a positive result is to bet on a basket of companies rather than a single stock. For example, in late 2020, Tom Lee started talking about the inherent potential of the energy sector. This came after a period when energy stocks had done so badly that some professionals were even zero-weighting them in their sector allocations. Rather than try to identify just one company in this sector to invest in, an investor might have chosen to take a position in $XOP, the S&P SPDR Oil and Gas Exploration and Production ETF.

And although Tom made his recommendation long before the war in Ukraine began, it cannot be denied that some of the positive performance we’ve seen in energy commodities and ETFs resulted from the disruptions caused by the war.

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