I promised to stop talking about economics, but I have a good reason for returning briefly to the topic.
Okay, two good reasons.
The first is that a sometimes-commenter on this blog, Matthew C., has started his own blog on day trading. It's called Quiet Trader, and it documents his impressive success at day trading S&P futures using a simulation program. The dollars aren't real, but the profits have been in the triple digits. He started with $100,000 in virtual money back in October and now has $262,503.
Matthew is looking for an investor who might want to use his skills. He has a business proposal on the site.
Be aware that day trading carries risks, and in general you should not day trade with money you cannot afford to lose. That said, some day traders - a talented and savvy minority - can do very well.
The second reason for reopening this topic is simply full disclosure. After sticking stubbornly to my buy-and-hold philosophy for longer than I should have, I finally semi-capitulated and sold some of my equity holdings. (Naturally this means the stock market will immediately go up; it's a law of nature that whenever I sell any investment, it instantly increases in value.)
I still think buy-and-hold is a valid approach over the long run, but as Keynes famously said, "In the long run we are all dead." More seriously, I think buy-and-hold is probably the right approach for part of your equities, but it needs to be balanced by other approaches to offset the sometimes precipitous market drops that can occur.
Roger Knights and Matthew C. (among others) were right in advising me to sell stocks back when the DJIA was hovering around 9000. The subsequent decline has not been good for my digestion.
Live and learn.