Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Buying Stocks On Sale

by Aussie 0 comments

The stock market is plummeting. I can't believe the turnaround in investor sentiment in the last year or so. The Dow was over 14,000 just 18 months ago and now it looks like it might go down below 7,000 again. I know the economic outlook is not as rosy as it used to be but has the underlying value of the companies which make up the Dow really halved?

You could well argue that the stock market was overvalued 18 months ago and that it's really just approaching fair value now. I can't claim to be an expert on valuation of equities markets so this may well be the case - but even if it is the case, it still food for thought.

A patient investor who's willing to hold onto some cash when markets are racing out of control, will eventually be rewarded with better value. And that's where we are now. Stocks are on sale - they're 50% off.

Now I wont pretend that I'm not worried about the financial crisis. I have no idea how bad it will get or how long it will last. But I suspect that in 5 or 10 years time stock market investors (particularly value investors) will look back at this period as one of the best buying opportunities of a generation.

Having said that, I think investors should tread warily. I would stick to companies in sound financial shape - low debt and strong cash flows. And be prepared to see the market price of your investment continue to fall. But take comfort in the fact that it's almost impossible to pick the bottom and that you're still buying a quality business for half of what it sold for less than 2 years ago.

I should point out that I'm an private investor managing only my own money. I'm in no way qualified to give financial advice. You definitely should not take any of what you read on this blog as personal financial advice. See a professional. I could be spectacularly wrong - maybe the world really is coming to and end.

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