NEW YORK — Sell high.
That’s what managers of some mutual funds say they’re doing after watching stock prices soar.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has surged nearly 50 percent in the last two years and nearly 150 percent since the market’s bottom in March 2009.
That’s led some managers to sell some of their stocks and wait for prices to fall before buying again.
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If they’re right, they’ll have protected their investors and have more cash with which to buy stocks on sale. If they’re wrong and stocks keep rising, their investors will miss out on the gains.
“We’ve made some money, and we’re taking some chips off the table,” says Sandy Villere.
For the last five years, his Villere Balanced fund (VILLX) has returned an average of 14 percent annually and ranks in the top 1 percent of its category, according to Morningstar.
The fund has been selling stocks since May and leaving the proceeds parked in cash. That means cash now makes up 12 percent of its $849.5 million in assets. Historically, cash has been below 5 percent of the total.
Overall, fund managers have an average of 4.5 percent of their portfolios in cash, up from 3.8 percent in January, according to the most recent survey data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.