7. Consider the global economy when you diversify. "By not investing globally, you're missing out on an important diversification opportunity," Vanguard's Bruno says. Samson Capital's Lewis says it's especially important at a time when U.S. budget woes threaten a debt downgrade. Try to "diversify into strong balance-sheet nations with good governance," he says.
8. Look for good global brands that may be undervalued. Markets in Europe and Japan leaped over the past year amid signs of economic recovery. To find value, says Bill Mann, chief investment officer of Motley Fool Asset Management, seek "powerful global brands that have very little exposure to the local economy." He cited shoe and apparel maker Adidas as relatively cheap based on earnings estimates. S&P Capital Reports data shows Adidas's earning growth is projected to be twice that of similarly priced Nike next year.
9. Take some profits. Following this year's boom, some of those big stock gains might be getting stretched. "It's not a popular view, but I think it might be a good time to raise some cash. Lots of highly speculative stocks have been getting bid up," Mann says. "Leave some powder dry." Also, remember that you can recognize a tax loss on a stock that is sagging and reinvest in it after 30 days "if you think you still want it for the long term," says Gary DuBoff, managing director of CBIZ MHM LLC.
10. Don't let inflation fears guide your entire strategy. People have been waiting for a long time for inflation to heat up, and it hasn't yet. Wealth advisor Sumnicht says he thinks a flare-up may come this year and advises investors to hold "at least a bit of gold, even if it's just 2 percent of your holdings to keep your foot in the door" via exchange-traded funds like the SPDR Gold Trust ETF.
11. Beat-up emerging markets are worth watching. Emerging markets have been beaten up while the rest of the developed world has experienced gains. Jason White, T. Rowe Price equity portfolio specialist, says emerging markets underperformed major markets by 25 percent over the past year. T. Rowe's view, according to a company report, is that emerging markets' "long-term growth story remains intact and that valuations are at their most attractive levels in years." A diversified fund is a way to get into this hard-to-invest-in sector, and only in limited quantity.
12. Look for success stories that have wheels. Two big winners this year have been the airline and auto industries. But have they risen too much? No, says S&P Capital IQ. Because airlines slashed costs during the severe recession, even small traffic gains go right to the bottom line. The sector is "poised to benefit from increased air travel demand, both business and leisure," according to S&P Capital IQ. It cited Fidelity Select Air Transport Portfolio as its favorite airline/aerospace fund. The auto outlook is similar: Cost cuts and improved sales are boosting results. Zacks Investment Research still rates autos as one of its top sub-sectors, and sees it boosting fourth-quarter profit 25 percent. But Ford and GM still trade at below-market prices-to-earnings levels.
13. Buy large-cap stocks for their double value. "Tweak your allocation more to the large-cap side for next year," Sumnicht says. These companies have the potential to boost dividends if inflation grows and to lift foreign earnings if the dollar weakens. He likes large-cap funds SPDR Dividend Yield ETF and First Trust Value Line Dividend Portfolio Trust.
14. View volatility as an opportunity. There is one virtual certainty for 2014. "There will be volatility," Sumnicht says. "With the political situation of the debt ceiling coming back again. It's not likely to lead to a default. I'd use it as an opportunity to buy equities."