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09/04/2015 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Ian Wyatt

Publisher & Chief Investment Strategist, Wyatt Investment Research

Not much has gone right with stocks in August and that's putting it generously. Is this the end of the bull market? asks Ian Wyatt, editor of High Yield Wealth.

So what is bothering investors? Over the past year, it has become increasingly apparent that China's growth is grinding to a halt. It might seem far away, but it matters and it matters a lot.

Over the past decade, China has consistently been a top-growth economy. Many foreign companies have significant investments in China, so what occurs in China is felt worldwide.

Meanwhile, on our side of the Pacific, the Federal Reserve continues to hold markets in suspense, regarding the timing for an interest rate hike.

Falling commodity prices complete the trifecta of worry. The decline in oil and most other commodities signal fading emerging-market growth prospects. Of course, fading commodities also reflect China's fading growth prospects. 

Where to from here? First, don't panic. We don't know if the bull is transmogrifying into a bear. No one knows.

What we do know is that our recommendations have endured numerous business cycles and have recovered and thrived. Sell-offs are painful, but they're frequently worth enduring, because we know markets recover and move higher. We just don't know when. 

If you are nervous and in need of a haven, consider companies that master the basics that people continually demand.

That means recommendations McDonald's (MCD), Altria Group (MO), Mercury General (MCY), Pfizer (PFE), and General Electric (GE).

Given their girth and huge cash accounts, Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Microsoft (MSFT) are also worthwhile parking spots. 

If you're interested in the future, keep an eye on commodity prices. They will eventually recover. Therefore, it's worthwhile to keep some dry powder in order to pick up some value.

We don't know if a commodity bottom is at hand, but we find Pan American Silver (PAAS) and BHP Billiton (BHP) attractive at their current prices.

Not to belabor the obvious too much, but little has gone right for stocks in August. But buying when things are going wrong can lead to a lot going right in your portfolio a couple years down the road. 

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