Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Value investing

These are turbulent times in the market. With every possible bad scenario happening, the future of the financial markets look bleak and gloomy. Its at times like these, you really wonder if its even worth investing in the stock market and if you should really just cut your losses and keep your cash in a milo tin underneath your bed.

One of my favourite books (and I would never have thought this would be an enjoying read at all!) is Benjamin Graham's "The Intelligent Investor". Warren Buffett describes it as "by far the best book on investing ever written

The gist of the book can be summarize by the analogy of Mr. Market, an obliging fellow who turns up every day at the share holder's door offering to buy or sell his shares at a different price.

Often, the price quoted by Mr. Market seems plausible, but sometimes it is ridiculous. The investor is free to either agree with his quoted price and trade with him, or ignore him completely. Mr. Market doesn't mind this, and will be back the following day to quote another price.

The point of this anecdote is that the investor should not regard the whims of Mr. Market as a determining factor in the value of the shares the investor owns. He should profit from market folly rather than participate in it. The investor is advised to concentrate on the real life performance of his companies and receiving dividends, rather than be too concerned with Mr. Market's often irrational behaviour.

This is the concept of Value Investing. Not trading based on market sentiment but on companies and stocks that hold true value. Graham states certain rules and conditions that a company and stock must fulfill before it can be considered to be included as part of your value investing portfolio.

A definite must read for someone trying to figure out what to do in this current mess.

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