Are you ready to buy and sell stocks & shares?
It is common knowledge that share market investments yield the best returns over a long period of time, if one knows how to go about it correctly. Success in the stock market depends a lot on the capability and mindset of the investor rather than the market. The same market rewards some people and causes losses to others mainly due to this difference.
Here are ten facts that you should not overlook if you are buying and selling shares.
10 Must Know Facts Before You Try To Make Money Selling Shares
1. Set your expectations right:
Many people start investing in stock markets hoping to double their money in a year or less. While this is sometimes possible by pure luck or taking insane risks, it is a rare phenomenon and not sustainable over any reasonable length of time. Stock markets give good returns over long periods of time that will be in the range of 10 to 12% annually. If you are looking for something more, you are speculating, not investing and that is a very risky thing to do. Stock market returns are also not fixed, but come with a lot of volatility and even with some short-term losses. So get the expectations right or your emotions will get the better of you and you are very likely to make irrational decisions.
2. Stock market investment is a long-term activity:
Short-term movements of the market are just noise or knee-jerk reactions to company or economic news. They are what they are – short-term. There is nothing more to read from it. Benjamin Graham (known as the father of value investing) put this across nicely when he said that in the short-term the market is more like a popularity voting machine and in the long run it is a value weighing machine. Don’t bet on the popularity which goes up and down every other day, bet on the substance. In the long run the markets and stock prices move towards their fundamental valuations. It is unfortunate that many investors bark up the wrong tree and lose money in popularity contests rather than looking for value.
Warren Buffett once said that he would only buy something that he would be happy to hold even if the market stops trading for ten years. This is the kind of long-term view that is required to focus on quality stocks.
3. Turn a deaf ear to free investment advice:
Business channels on TV are 24 hour animals, they need to be fed. You will find a lot of analysis going on about why this stock went up or that went down or about which direction it may take based on some future events or predictions. As discussed above, these are most likely short-term movements which may not represent any real change in valuation. Any event that doesn’t affect the valuation of a stock or does not have a long term economic impact does not matter to the long-term stock investor. Keeping out all this noise about short-term market volatility will give you more time to focus on real changes that affect company performance which are the real issues that a smart investor should be focusing on.
4. Think and act like the owner of the company:
When you buy a stock, you are buying a share in the company however small it may be. Think about buying a stock like you are buying a company. This means you have to do quite a bit of research about the company, its business, its past performance, checking out its competitive advantages and forecasting future trends in the light of the company’s strengths and the likely economic scenarios. Deciding to buy or sell a stock should not be an impulsive decision, it should be a well thought out decision.
Peter Lynch one of the best in the mutual fund business said that to buy a stock, the company has to be profitable, the business should have a strong competitive advantage and the stock price has to make sense.
5. Buy when a stock is cheap and sell when it is high:
This seems to be the obvious thing to do, but knowing when a stock is cheap and when it is time to sell needs an understanding about valuations. Novice stock investors assume that what goes up must keep going up and use the price direction to make their investment decisions. They usually end up buying when the stock is expensive and close to its highs and selling when it is cheap. They thus do the opposite of what they are supposed to be doing. Making investment decisions solely on the basis of price movements is like allowing the tail to wag the dog. Only a person who thinks like an owner and understands valuation will be able to time the market properly.
Benjamin Graham, known as the father of value investing advises that one should never sell in panic just because the prices have fallen and the market is undervaluing a stock, as the prices will bounce back.
6. Don’t give undue weightage to a company’s management:
Even the best management team cannot run a company profitably if it has a bad business model and financial position. Management teams can change many times during a company’s life and so it should be given only due weightage and the company’s strengths and weaknesses should take precedence over it. Even an ace driver cannot win a race if the car he is driving is a slow dilapidated vehicle with partially inflated tires.
7. Patience is essential, but it is very different from being stubborn:
Never forget the original analysis on the basis of which you purchased a stock. When the outlook of the economy or the company changes check how it impacts the original analysis, valuation and forecasts. If you would not buy a stock based on what you know today, there is no great reason to hold on to it even if you already own it. Patience is when you hold on to a stock in spite of price fluctuations and this will usually be rewarding. You are stubborn when you keep on holding to a stock just because you don’t want to take a loss or want to be proven wrong. This can lead to big losses.
8. When an investment is obvious to everybody it is usually time to exit:
Recognizing the signs of the top of a market move allows you to exit when the prices are high. It is a familiar pattern when stock prices go up. When the prices are low, only the smart investors notice it and accumulate it. Then the prices go up, more people start to take notice and buy, pushing the price up further. Next the TV channels start talking about the stock and more people on the sidelines start rushing in. As prices go up further, everyone, their drivers and gardeners are also aware of the stock and there is a mad rush to jump into the bandwagon. This is when the stock is trading at many times its fair price and smart investors quietly sell the stock. When the stock is obvious to the whole world, it is a bad sign and a time to exit. Recognize these signs of a top, because after this point a huge correction is around the corner.
Hedge Fund Manager Jim Cramer emphasized this by saying that bulls and bears make money while pigs get slaughtered. Stocks which are overvalued and still rising are just climbing up a tower to take a suicidal jump.
9. A safety margin is always necessary:
The future is always unpredictable and however skilled an investor is in analyzing valuations and forecasting the future, there will be surprises. This could be due to unforeseen events or changes in a company’s internal or external environment. All great investors keep a margin of safety to prevent major losses in the event things don’t go as expected.
10. Never put all your eggs in the one basket:
Diversification across many different industries and sectors is the key to a healthy portfolio. Economic events usually impact different sectors differently. Having all stock investments in one or two industries could result in a disaster if an event that impacts them adversely occurs.
It is possible to make money selling shares and obtain handsome returns in the long run, but you must go about it like a businessman and not as a speculator. The ten things mentioned above are cold hard facts that you should always keep in mind while investing in stocks.
Be sure to checkout our 22 Must Know Investment Quotes By Some Of The Worlds Greatest Investors for some unforgettable investment advice.
Article By: Neil Cloud | Addicted2Success.com