Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing 1

Introduction: Picking Great Stocks Is Tough

Successful investing is simple, but it's not easy.

Picking individual stocks requires hard work, discipline, and an investment of time (as well as money). Expecting to make a large amount of money with only a little effort is like expecting to shoot a great round of golf the first time you pick up a set of clubs. There's no magic formula, and there's no guarantee of success.

The basic investment process is simple: Analyze the company and value the stock. If you avoid the mistake of confusing a great company with a great investment – and the two can be very different – you'll already be ahead of many of your investing peers.

Your goal as an investor should be to find wonderful businesses and purchase them at reasonable prices. Great companies create wealth, and as the value of the business grows, so should the stock price in time. In the short term, the market can be a capricious thing – wonderful businesses can sell at fire-sale prices, while money-losing ventures can be valued as if they had the rosiest of futures – but over the long haul, stock prices tend to track the value of the business.

You have to [...] understand the businesses of the stocks you own if you hope to be a successful long-term investor. When firms do well, so do their shares, and when business suffers, the stock will as well.
Company fundamentals have a direct effect on share prices. This principle applies only over a long time period – in the short term, stock prices can (and do) move around for a whole host of reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with the underlying value of the company. We firmly advocate focusing on the long-term performance of businesses because the short-term price movement of a stock is completely unpredictable.

Successful stock-picking means having the courage to take a stance that's different from the crowd. There will always be conflicting opinions about the merits of any company, and it's often the companies with the most conflict surrounding them that make the best investments. Thus, as an investor, you have to be able to develop your own opinion about the value of a stock, and you should change that value only if the facts warrant doing so – not because you read a negative news article or because some pundit mouths off on TV. Investment success depends on personal discipline, not on whether the crowd agrees or disagrees with you.


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