STOCKS

Don't feel motivated to do any buying or selling? Join the club. But while conditions are less than tantalizing, focus on pruning your portfolio and preparing for new stocks.

Many investors figure the smartest thing they can do now is nothing.

They've raised the cash they needed to raise, and they don't feel compelled to sell anything in a hurry. And they certainly don't feel a rush to buy anything.

Yep, doing nothing strikes many folks as the right thing to do.

I mostly agree.

The Jubak's Picks portfolio is about 35% in cash. As I wrote last week, I'm waiting for a buying opportunity in China (see this blog post), but that's not likely to occur until July or later. The US market is outperforming most of the world's markets, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Until the growth picture for the US economy gets a lot clearer—you did see the disappointing June 4 jobs number for May, right?—I don't feel a need to add to my US growth stock core in Jubak's Picks. The euro debt crisis will end someday, but someday looks like a way down the road. And now we've got a political crisis in Japan that may or may not be resolved by July's elections.

Nope, I'm not looking to make much in the way of buys or sells. But that doesn't mean I'm doing nothing.

It's time, in fact, to be hard at work on your watch list (mine is here) if you want to be ready when it is time to buy. Right now you should be pruning that list to make sure you're not fixated on buying stocks for the next market because they did well in the previous market. It's time to be scouting for new opportunities, stocks that seem especially attuned to the next market's sweet spots.

In this column, I'm going to take the pruning shears to Jim's Watch List and then identify some new growth that's worth your attention.

Looking for Your Pitch

Pruning and then replanting a watch list eventually gets very concrete and specific—you do need to identify individual stocks for the list—but it starts off general and speculative.

How to begin?

Exactly—or as exactly as you can, anyway—describe the kind of market you're watching for. Put a time period on it. And remember that you're looking ahead and not back.

NEXT: The Opportunities and Trends I'm Watching For

Tickers Mentioned: PHI, TKC, TLK, JEXYY, WMT