Friday, 2 March 2012

Timing is of no real value to the investor unless it coincides with pricing

The farther one gets from Wall Street, the more skepticism one will find, we believe, as to the pretensions of stock-market forecasting or timing. 
  • The investor can scarcely take seriously the innumerable predictions which appear almost daily and are his for the asking. 
  • Yet in many cases he pays attention to them and even acts upon them
Why? Because he has been persuaded that
  •  it is important for him to form some opinion of the future course of the stock market, and 
  • because he feels that the brokerage or service forecast is at least more dependable than his own.*

A great deal of brain power goes into this field, and undoubtedly some people can make money by being good stockmarket analysts. But it is absurd to think that the general public can ever make money out of market forecasts. 
  • For who will buy when the general public, at a given signal, rushes to sell out at a profit? 
  • If you, the reader, expect to get rich over the years by following some system or leadership in market forecasting, you must be expecting to try to do what countless others are aiming at, and to be able to do it better than your numerous competitors in the market. 
  • There is no basis either in logic or in experience for assuming that any typical or average investor can anticipate market movements more successfully than the general public, of which he is himself a part.

There is one aspect of the “timing” philosophy which seems to have escaped everyone’s notice.
  • Timing is of great psychological importance to the speculator because he wants to make his profit in a hurry
  • The idea of waiting a year before his stock moves up is repugnant to him. 
But a waiting period, as such, is of no consequence to the investor. 
  • What advantage is there to him in having his money uninvested until he receives some (presumably) trustworthy signal that the time has come to buy? 
  • He enjoys an advantage only if by  waiting he succeeds in buying later at a sufficiently lower price to offset his loss of dividend income. 
  • What this means is that timing is of no real value to the investor unless it coincides with pricing—that is, unless it enables him to repurchase his shares at substantially under his previous selling price.

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