Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing 2

The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing

Here are the five rules that we recommend:

  1. Do your homework.
  2. Find economic moats.
  3. Have a margin of safety.
  4. Hold for the long haul.
  5. Know when to sell.
[...] perhaps the most common mistake that investors make is failing to thoroughly investigate the stocks they purchase. Unless you know the business inside and out, you shouldn't buy the stock. This means that you need to develop an understanding of accounting so that you can decide for yourself what kind of financial shape a company is in.

What separates a bad company from a good one? Or a good company from a great one? In large part, it's the size of the economic moat a company builds around itself. The term economic moat is used to describe a firm's competitive advantage.

The key to identifying wide economic moats can be found in the answer to a deceptively simple question: How does a company manage to keep competitors at bay and earn consistently fat profits? If you can answer this, you've found the source of the firm's economic moat.

Finding great companies is only half of the investment process – the other half is assessing what the company is worth. You can't just go out and pay whatever the market is asking for the stock because the market might be demanding too high a price. And if the price you pay is too high, your investment returns will likely be disappointing.

Always include a margin of safety into the price you're willing to pay for a stock. If you later realize you overestimated the company's prospects, you'll have a built-in cushion that will mitigate your investment losses. The size of your margin of safety should be larger for shakier firms with uncertain futures and smaller for solid firms with reasonably predictable earnings.

[...] not making money is a lot less painful than losing money you already have.

[...] if you don't use discipline and conservatism in figuring out the prices you're willing to pay for stocks, you'll regret it eventually. Valuation is a crucial part of the investment process.

Investing should be a long-term commitment because short-term trading means that you're playing a loser's game. The costs really begin to add up – both the taxes and the brokerage costs – and create an almost insurmountable hurdle to good performance.

Knowing when it's appropriate to bail out of a stock is at least as important as knowing when to buy one, yet we often sell our winners too early and hang on to our losers for too long.

Even the greatest companies should be sold when their shares sell at egregious values.

As an investor, you should always be seeking to allocate your money to the assets that are likely to generate the highest return relative to their risk. There's no shame in selling a somewhat undervalued investment – even one on which you've lost money – to free up funds to buy a stock with better prospects.

Don't sell just because the price has gone up or down, but give it some serious thought if one of the following things has happened: You made a mistake buying it in the first place, the fundamentals have deteriorated, the stock has risen well above its intrinsic value, you can find better opportunities, or it takes up too much space in your portfolio.


No comments: