Posts filed under “Rules”

When to Sell

Jeff Saut channels Justin Mamis via When to Sell:

“Stocks are bought not in fear but in hope. No matter what the stock did in the past it assumes a new life once a purchaser owns it, and he looks forward to a rosy future – after all, that’s why he singled it out in the first place. But these simple expectations become complicated by what actually happens. The stock acquires a new past, beginning from the moment of purchase, and with that past comes new doubts, new concerns, and conflicts. The purchaser’s stock portfolio quickly becomes a portfolio of psychic dilemmas, with ego, id, superego, and reality in a state of constant battle.”

“The public is most comfortable when they are sitting with losses. Because if their stocks are down from where they bought them, they don’t have to worry about them. Once he’s got a loss, the typical investor is sure he isn’t going to sell. He bears the lower price because in his mind it is temporary and ridiculous; it’ll eventually go away if he doesn’t worry about it. So selling at a loss becomes absolutely out of the question. And since it is out of the question, and his mind is made up for him, the struggle of any potential decision vanishes and he is able to sit comfortably with the loss.”

“To the public mind, selling is never sound. It always conveys the possibility of being wrong twice: first, admitting that they’ve made a buying error; second, admitting that they might be wrong in selling out. And if the stock has actually gone up, they are tormented; should they take a profit or hold for a bigger one? That creates anxiety, and anxiety breeds mistakes. But as long as they’ve got losses, and never have to decide, they can sit back comfortably and dream instead.”

“Through the entire market cycle lurks the fear of finalizing the deed, of taking it from dream to reality by selling. By not selling, by tightly holding on to his stocks, the investor never has to face reality.”

Its an overlooked key to managing downside risk — knowing when to ride it out and when to hit the eject button.


Category: Markets, Rules, Trading

Santelli & Kaminski on Central Banker Largesse

Rick Santelli & Gary Kaminski debate the edifice of central banker largesse and blame it for much of the woes we face.

I do not fully agree — they ignore the counter-factual, which is where would we be if there were no QE and rates were at 3 or 6% . . .

Hat tip TTMYGH

Category: Rules, Video

Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom

Nice piece I came across in Library of Economics and Liberty. There is not a lot to disagree with these. My one caveat about all such rules is that are a rough framework for conceptualizing the world, and are neither gospel nor a mantra. Reality does tend to intrude from time to time, making these…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Rules

Trading vs Investing (and Today’s Bounce)

click for updated futures > Let’s not mince words: Yesterday’s market action – down 1.75% on heavier volume — was a shellacking: DJIA 12715.93 -213.66 -1.65% Nasdaq 2991.22 -55.86 -1.83% S&P 500 1358.59 -23.61 -1.71% We are now rather oversold, and are due for a bounce. What I want to look at is the quality of…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Markets, Rules, Technical Analysis, Trading

5 Things That Surprised Me About A Career on Wall Street

I had a conversation with a friend recently about Wall Street. We discussed some of the odder aspects of the Street, not so much about investing itself, but about having a career in finance. I have a somewhat skewed and skeptical perspective on Wall Street. I started out as a lawyer (I loved law school…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Rules

Jesse Livermore’s Trading Rules (1940)

From Jesse Livermore comes these Reminiscences of a Stock Operator: With New Commentary and Insights on the Life and Times of Jesse Livermore   1. Nothing new ever occurs in the business of speculating or investing in securities and commodities. 2. Money cannot consistently be made trading every day or every week during the year. 3….Read More

Category: Rules, Trading

5 Signs You’ve Matured as a Trader

Joe Fahmy has guided his hedge fund to outperformance over the past 13 quarters. He has been sharing his trading skills to a novice to intermediate traders based on his 16 years of trading. This is our their attempt at creating bite size, easy to understand, bullet points for traders. The prior posts are here…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Rules, Trading

Jeremy Grantham: 10 Lessons

Nice list from Jeremy Grantham, via Marketwatch: 1. Believe in history “All bubbles break; all investment frenzies pass. The market is gloriously inefficient and wanders far from fair price, but eventually, after breaking your heart and your patience … it will go back to fair value. Your task is to survive until that happens.” 2….Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Psychology, Rules

5 Qualities of All Great Traders

I met Joe Fahmy a few years ago at Lindzenpalooza. He has a great way of communicating his trading skills to a novice to intermediate traders based on his 16 years of trading. Fahmy has guided his hedge fund to outperformance over the past 13 quarters. As previously mentioned, I wanted to present something less…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Rules, Trading

David Merkel: The Eight Rules of My Investing

David J. Merkel is a CFA, FSA. His forthcoming equity asset management shop is tentatively called Aleph Investments. From 2008-2010, he was the Chief Economist and Director of Research of Finacorp Securities.where he researched a wide variety of fixed income and equity securities, and trading strategies. Until 2007, he was a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. From 2003-2007, he was a leading commentator at the investment website

These are his Eight Rules of Investing:


My objective in guiding investors is to teach them how to tilt the odds of success in their favor. As a value investor that rotates sectors, I have eight methods that each tilt the odds a little in my favor. Individually, each tilt is worth a little. As a group, they have been very powerful for my past results. Unaudited, these methods have allowed me to beat the market since the strategy started in September of 2000.

  1. Industries are under-analyzed, relative to the market on the whole, and relative to individual companies. Spend time trying to find good companies with strong balance sheets in industries with lousy pricing power, and cheap companies in good industries, where the trends are not fully discounted.
  2. Purchase equities that are cheap relative to other names in the industry. Depending on the industry, this can mean low P/E, low P/B, low P/S, low P/CFO, low P/FCF, or low EV/EBITDA.
  3. Stick with higher quality companies for a given industry.
  4. Purchase companies appropriately sized to serve their market niches.
  5. Analyze financial statements to avoid companies that misuse generally accepted accounting principles and overstate earnings.
  6. Analyze the use of cash flow by management, to avoid companies that invest or buy back their stock when it dilutes value, and purchase those that enhance value through intelligent buybacks and investment.
  7. Rebalance the portfolio whenever a stock gets more than 20% away from its target weight. Run a largely equal-weighted portfolio because it is genuinely difficult to tell what idea is the best. Keep about 30-40 names for diversification purposes.
  8. Make changes to the portfolio 3-4 times per year. Evaluate the replacement candidates as a group against the current portfolio. New additions must be better than the median idea currently in the portfolio. Companies leaving the portfolio must be below the median idea currently in the portfolio.

Each of these rules enforces a discipline on the overall portfolio that most professionals and individual investors do not possess. It takes the emotion out of investing, and forces us to think like risk-sensitive, profit-seeking businessmen. I agree with Buffett when he said, “I am a better businessman because I am an investor, and I am a better investor because I am a businessman.” The two disciplines mutually reinforce each other, leading to better results.


Part II is after the jump

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Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Rules