Thursday, 26 November 2009

Market bubbles and individual stock bubbles are investor traps

Bubbles are not caused by fundamental events. It is investors themselves who create them. Investors come to believe some things that are not true or not rational and thus create a mania in a stock, in an industry, or in the overall market. If the mania goes on for a time, a bubble is created, and that builds until its inherent instability leads it to break.

One of the interesting differences between bubbles and bear markets is that in a bear market, there are plenty of bulls and bears. In a bubble, the few bears are drowned out by the loud and almost universal bullishness. This happened with the Internet, because a mania is normally caused by a belief in something that is supposed to be new and amazing, even though this cannot be proved.

It is natural to like momentum and money, but if investors have no disciplines and no sense of bubbles, then they are headed not for the big money, but for quite the opposite.
There are market bubbles once in a great while, perhaps once in a life-time, but individual stock bubbles are more common. All bubbles have some similarities that concern how perceptions, emotions, and a lack of accurate information combine to set an investor trap.

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