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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
-- Bill Northlich

Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't time this market

My partner, who is 30 years my senior, worked for a mutual fund company in the 1970s. His firm used a market timing service that got them out of the market in 1973 – they sold stocks and were in cash. The market declined over 40% in 1974. Victory! – right? Well, the market timing service did not get them back in on time and they missed the bulk of the 60% rise in the market in 1975.

Timing the market is very difficult because you have to get two things right at once: the economy and the emotions of the market’s participants. Good luck! For instance, even if you were brilliant and predicted that the subprime crisis will unfold in the summer of 2007 (though it could have happened in late 2006 or early 2008) the market did not care and went up 25% and made an all time high. Value individual stocks, don’t time the market – that is the only process that for most investors has proven to work in the long run. Thus we’ll be sticking to our process.

---Vitaly Katnelson, 11.21.08

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