Great Investors Don’t Listen to Robots

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“Even if you could trick an algorithm into giving you the portfolio you need as opposed to the one you want—which you can’t—an algorithm can’t hold your hand, look into your eyes and advise you credibly not to worry when the market goes down 30%. You will still bolt out of your portfolio at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.”
– Nick Murray

In last month’s article, we focused on “Taking advantage of Dividends” as one of the great qualities to adopt for anyone who wants to become a great investor. This month we focus on slightly different habit that great investors understand……Great Investors Don’t Listen to Robots.

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Great Investors have a Healthy Memory

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Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.”
– Sir John Templeton

In last month’s article, we focused on “being observant” as one of the great qualities to adopt for anyone who wants to become a great investor. This month we focus on a similar, but slightly different quality…Great Investors have a Healthy Memory

There is great wisdom in John Templeton’s quote above, as it recognizes investor sentiment as an enormously important factor in stock market cycles.  In our view, long term market cycles are largely dictated by “the mood of the crowd”, and great investors are well served to pay attention to investor sentiment.  To paraphrase Templeton, we have a belief that no great, multi-year bull market can begin unless the majority of the investing public is terrified of losing money in stocks, and that their equity holdings can tank at any moment, and for any reason.  Alternatively, no terrible bear market can occur unless investors are complacent, and convinced that stocks can’t go down at all, and that their greatest risk in their stock portfolios is that someone else is earning bigger returns than they are.
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