Long-term investing © RunPhoto, Photodisc, Getty Images

This is a market that encourages short-term thinking even from long-term investors.

In a market supported and driven by central bank cash flows, moves are big and sometimes even clear. Right now, for example, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan is determined to weaken the yen. Despite the recent volatility that comes from the criticism of Japanese policy at the meetings of the leaders of the G-7 and G-20 economies -- the world's big economies -- it's hard to see this trend not running until the yen hits 100 or 105 to the U.S. dollar. For a month or two or three, buying shares of Japanese exporters makes sense, even if you think the long-term trend in the Japanese economy is down and down some more.

Sure, housing stocks like PulteGroup (PHM) and shares of oil refiners such as Marathon Petroleum (MPC) tied to the mid-continent oil boom in the United States are up 123% and 93%, respectively, in the past year, but the trends behind these stocks are still going strong and the market momentum is still with them, so isn't it worth jumping on board for a while?

Shares in pummeled sectors such as Yingli Green Energy (YGE) in solar or Banco Bilbo Vizcaya (BBVA) among European banks are up 106% and 33%, respectively, in the past three months. Is it too late to pile in? How about adding Trina Solar (TSL), up 56%, or Mediobanca (which trades as MB.IM in Milan), up only 19% in three months, on the theory that lightning can strike twice (or more) as these sectors recover?

And don't forget that the lessons of the volatility of recent years -- 2011 is the extreme example, but also the booms and busts of 1999-2000 and 2008-2009 -- argue to go with the momentum but to be ready to hit the door running.

I think some of this short-term thinking is perfectly appropriate to the nature of the current market. Those central bank cash flows suggest volatility, for example. I have advocated adopting short-term strategies such as swing trading around a position as well-suited to this market. And certainly, momentum strategies have been alive and well as U.S. stocks have raced to new all-time or five-year highs in 2013. (In fact I own Yingli Green Energy and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya in my Jubak's Picks portfolio.)

Jim Jubak

Jim Jubak

That's not to say short-term thinking is the only thinking that can turn a profit in this market. The very prevalence of short-term thinking suggests to me that some or many long-term opportunities are going undervalued.

5 long-term plays

So what do I mean by long-term opportunities?

I don't mean opportunities like those in the red-hot 3-D printing sector -- stocks like 3D Systems (DDD), Stratasys (SSYS) and the recent IPO of ExOne (XONE). Those have been amply recognized by momentum players.

The opportunities I'm talking about are a little further out than this market is interested in at the moment. Their stories are perhaps a more nuanced than that of an emerging manufacturing technology that is like your desktop printer and will revolutionize global manufacturing.

May I give you five quick examples? Thanks. I knew you'd say yes.

Yamana Gold (AUY) and other gold stocks, like gold itself, aren't anyone's favorite investment right now. Despite lots and lots of evidence pointing toward future inflation (those central bank printing presses again) and devalued currencies, gold has been going nowhere but down recently. Part of that seems to be -- if we can judge from the amount of money flowing out of gold exchange-traded funds -- that some investors/traders in gold have gotten discouraged and tired of waiting and have decided to sell today and come back another day.

So Wednesday's announcement of a 44% increase in estimated reserves to 1.95 million gold equivalent ounces at the Cerro Moro mining project in Argentina, which Yamana acquired in mid-2012, didn't move the stock up at all. In fact, the stock fell 0.88% on the day. However, despite the perverse market action, this is exactly the kind of announcement a long-term investor wants to see from a gold-mining company. Yamana closed at $15.78 on Wednesday, below the $16 a share price that I've been using to build a position in the stock. Given gold's recent weakness, I might hold off on this one a bit since the chart looks to be headed to a negative cross (where the 50-day moving average moves below the 200-day moving average). That kind of chart often indicates further weakness ahead. The shares pay a 1.65% dividend -- not bad for a gold stock since gold itself pays 0%. (Yamana Gold is a member of my Jubak's Picks portfolio.)

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