Monday, 5 March 2012

Keep these 113 words of Graham close at hand and let them guide you throughout your investing life.

The true investor scarcely ever is forced to sell his shares, and at  all other times he is free to disregard the current price quotation. He need pay attention to it and act upon it only to the extent that it suits his book, and no more.* Thus the investor who permits himself to be stampeded or unduly worried by unjustified market declines in his holdings is perversely transforming his basic advantage into a basic disadvantage. That man would be better off if his stocks had no market quotation at all, for he would then be spared the mental anguish caused him by other persons’ mistakes of judgment.†

* “Only to the extent that it suits his book” means “only to the extent that the price is favorable enough to justify selling the stock.” In traditional brokerage lingo, the “book” is an investor’s ledger of holdings and trades.

† This may well be the single most important paragraph in Graham’s entire book. In these 113 words Graham sums up his lifetime of experience. You cannot read these words too often; they are like Kryptonite for bear markets.  If you keep them close at hand and let them guide you throughout your investing life, you will survive whatever the markets throw at you.

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