Friday, December 09, 2005

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits

On of the finest books on investment strategies ever written is by Philip Fisher in his book "Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits". Fisher summarized his investment philosophy into eight points:

1. Buy stocks of companies that have disciplined plans for achieving dramatic long-term growth in both profits and revenues. Such companies must also have inherent qualities that make it difficult for new entrants into that business to share in such growth.

2. Fisher prefers to focus on such companies when they are out of favor; i.e., market conditions are not favorable or the financial community does not properly perceive the true worth of such companies.

3. Hold the stocks that you buy until there has been either a fundamental change in the company's nature or it has grown to a point where it will no longer be growing at a faster rate than the economy as a whole. He also says that one should never sell his most attractive stocks for short-term reasons.

4. If your primary investment goal is long-term appreciation of capital, then you should
de-emphasize the importance of dividends.

5. Recognize that making mistakes is an inherent cost of investing. The important thing is that the investor must be able to recognize such mistakes as soon as possible, understand their causes, and learn from them so that they are not repeated. A willingness to take small losses in some stocks while letting profits grow bigger and bigger in your more promising stocks is a sign of good investment management. Don't just take profits for the satisfaction of taking them.

6. Realize that there are a relatively small number of truly outstanding companies. Your funds should be concentrated in the most desirable opportunities. "For individuals (in possible contrast to institutions and certain types of funds), any holding of over twenty different stocks is a sign of financial incompetence. Ten or twelve is usually a better number."

7. An important ingredient of successful investing is to have more knowledge and apply your judgment after thoroughly evaluating specific situations. You should also have the moral courage to act against the crowd when your judgment tells you that you are right.

8. One of the basic rules of life also applies to successful investing -- success is highly dependent upon a combination of hard work, intelligence, and honesty.

Fisher concludes this book with the following paragraph:
"While good fortune will always play some part in managing common stock portfolios, luck tends to even out. Sustained success requires skill and consistent application of sound principles. Within the framework of my eight guidelines, I believe that the future will largely belong to those who, through self-discipline, make the effort to achieve it."


Blogger amarjit said...

It makes a good reading, I too firmly believe its all about right discipline when it come to investing into equity. Controlled sentiment plays the magic trick. while its true that no one can time the market, but one can decide with precision practising this discipline.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous William Bias said...

I think there were 15 points that summarized his philosphy.

Also pay attention to the 10 don'ts.

2:15 PM  
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