So now you know why everyone is talking about the strong dollar. But the dollar has always gone through long cycles of strength and weakness; it's just that when a move happens as fast and as much as it did over the last year, corporate managements don't have enough time to adjust their business models to account for the currency fluctuation.
Too late to do anything about that now, but I'll share with you advice that I have learned over the last 25 years, in which I have seen plenty of big dollar moves.
1. Diversification should not end because the dollar went up or down a lot. If anything, diversification helps you because it'll help protect the entirety of your portfolio from being impacted by just one thing.
2. Rebalance! We had several years, thanks to the Fed's ultra-low interest-rate policy and three quantitative easing programs, of a weak dollar that greatly benefited American multinational companies, and that drove their stock prices much higher. Now would be a good time to evaluate how proportionate this class of companies is within your investment portfolio and trim it back some.
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3. Look to areas that may have lagged in terms of asset appreciation due to the aforementioned weak dollar. International investing seemed to have gotten short shrift because Europe, Japan, China and, in general, emerging markets were for a long time underperforming the U.S. equity indexes. Well, that has been reversing, and if these areas are now underrepresented in your portfolio, then it may be time to recommit a portion to it.
4. Don't go all in or all out based on dollar plays. That may work for hedge funds, but for individual investors, remaining diversified helps prevent the need for knee-jerk and emotional reactions. After all, the dollar moves in both directions, and whatever it has been doing over the last few months, that trend won't last forever.
So enjoy all the banter about how strong the dollar is currently, but remember: If you're a long-term investor, you'll look back at these days and see it for what it really is. Just a bunch of noise.
—By Mitch Goldberg, president ClientFirst Strategy, a Dix Hills, New York-based investing firm.
Follow Mitch @mitch_goldberg