September 10, 2014 Comments

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% and Toronto fell 0.4%.

As long-time subscribers know, my approach when the prices of stocks that I own and like fall is usually to add to positions.

Most investors would not do that. And a major reason for that is that most investors find themselves judging a company by its stock price. Consider that almost all investors look at price charts but are not able to look at charts of earnings per share. Even more shocking is the fact that investment television shows tens to show you a chart of what the price did today. They often don’t even look at the say the last year. They are focused on today. The reality is that the price movements in a given day are almost always effectively random noise as opposed to any kind of signal.

If you own a stock but are not very familiar with how the company makes money, with its long term outlook and with its competitive advantages, then when the price falls your natural reaction is to be very concerned. In this situation most investors figure that “the market” knows that bad news is coming and so they are inclined to sell.

I find that by developing a strong (but certainly never perfect) knowledge of a select group of companies I can be in a position to be much more sanguine about price declines. If it still looks to me like the outlook is good then I would tend to buy on dips. Sometimes that can turn out wrong but most of the time it has worked out well.

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