Book Review

Book Title: One up on Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market

Author: Peter Lynch (with John Rothchild)

Date Published: 2000

Rating: 8.5/10

One Up On Wall Street – Author Background Facts and Tidbits

  • Born: 19 January 19, 1944
  • Name: Peter Lynch
  • First Job: In 1966, Lynch was hired as an intern with Fidelity Investments
  • Net Worth: $US450 million (estimate)
  • Nickname: Legend
  • Success: As the manager of the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments between 1977 and 1990, Lynch averaged a 29.2% annual return.

 

One Up On Wall Street – a summary of the book chapters and some key words/notes extracted directly from the text.

 

Part 1 – Preparing To Invest

Chapter 1 – The Making of a Stock Picker

  • There’s no such thing as a hereditary knack for picking stocks.
  • Investing in stocks is an art, not a science, and people who’ve been trained to rigidly quantify everything have a big disadvantage.

Chapter 2 – The Wall Street Oxymorons

  • When you ask a bank to handle your investments, mediocrity is all you’re going to get in a majority of the cases.
  • The stocks I try to buy are the very stocks that traditional fund managers try to overlook. In other words, I continue to think like an amateur as frequently as possible.

Chapter 3 – Is this Gambling, or What?

  • Investing in bonds, money-markets, or CDs are all different forms of investing in debt—for which one is paid interest
  • In spite of crashes, depressions, wars, recessions, ten different presidential administrations, and numerous changes in skirt lengths, stocks in general have paid off fifteen times as well as corporate bonds, and well over thirty times better than Treasury bills!
  • People who succeed in the stock market also accept periodic losses, setbacks, and unexpected occurrences.
  • If seven out of ten of my stocks perform as expected, then I’m delighted. If six out of ten of my stocks perform as expected, then I’m thankful. Six out of ten is all it takes to produce an enviable record on Wall Street.

Chapter 4 – Passing the Mirror Test

  • The trick is not to learn to trust your gut feelings, but rather to discipline yourself to ignore them. Stand by your stocks as long as the fundamental story of the company hasn’t changed

Chapter 5 – Is This a Good market? Please Don’t Ask

  • I believe in buying great companies—especially companies that are undervalued, and/or underappreciated.

One Up On Wall Street – Section I Learnings

  • Don’t overestimate the skill and wisdom of professionals.
  • Take advantage of what you already know.
  • Look for opportunities that haven’t yet been discovered and certified by Wall Street—companies that are “off the radar scope.”
  • Invest in a house before you invest in a stock.
  • Invest in companies, not in the stock market.
  • Ignore short-term fluctuations.
  • Large profits can be made in common stocks.
  • Large losses can be made in common stocks.
  • Predicting the economy is futile.
  • Predicting the short-term direction of the stock market is futile.
  • The long-term returns from stocks are both relatively predictable and also far superior to the long-term returns from bonds.
  • Keeping up with a company in which you own stock is like playing an endless stud-poker hand.
  • Common stocks aren’t for everyone, nor even for all phases of a person’s life.
  • The average person is exposed to interesting local companies and products years before the professionals.
  • Having an edge will help you make money in stocks.
  • In the stock market, one in the hand is worth ten in the bush.

Part II – Picking Winners

Chapter 6 – Stalking the Tenbagger

  • The person with the edge is always in a position to outguess the person without an edge—who after all will be the last to learn of important changes in a given industry.
  • I could go on for the rest of the book about the edge that being in a business gives the average stock picker. On top of that, there’s the consumer’s edge that’s helpful in picking out the winners from the newer and smaller fast-growing companies, especially in the retail trades. Whichever edge applies, the exciting part is that you can develop your own stock detection system outside the normal channels of Wall Street, where you’ll always get the news late
  • Every time I look at the Dreyfus chart, it reminds me of the advice I’ve been trying to give you all along: Invest in things you know about

Chapter 7 – I’ve got it, I’ve got it – What is it?

  • Investing without research is like playing stud poker and never looking at the card
  • Once I’ve established the size of the company relative to others in a particular industry, next I place it into one of six general categories: slow growers, stalwarts, fast growers, cyclicals, asset plays, and turnarounds
  • I separate the growth stocks into slow growers (sluggards), medium growers (stalwarts), and then the fast growers—the superstocks that deserve the most attention
  • Another sure sign of a slow grower is that it pays a generous and regular dividend. As I’ll discuss more fully in Chapter 13, companies pay generous dividends when they can’t dream up new ways to use the money to expand the business
  • Stalwarts are stocks that I generally buy for a 30 to 50 percent gain, then sell and repeat the process with similar issues that haven’t yet appreciated
  • I always keep some stalwarts in my portfolio because they offer pretty good protection during recessions and hard times
  • These are among my favorite investments: small, aggressive new enterprises that grow at 20 to 25 percent a year. If you choose wisely, this is the land of the 10-to 40-baggers, and even the 200-baggers
  • But for as long as they can keep it up, fast growers are the big winners in the stock market. I look for the ones that have good balance sheets and are making substantial profits. The trick is figuring out when they’ll stop growing, and how much to pay for the growth
  • Timing is everything in cyclicals, and you have to be able to detect the early signs that business is falling off or picking up

Chapter 8 – The Perfect Stock – What a Deal

  • Favorable attributes to look out for include:
    • IT SOUNDS DULL—OR, EVEN BETTER, RIDICULOUS
    • IT DOES SOMETHING DULL
    • IT DOES SOMETHING DISAGREEABLE
    • IT’S A SPINOFF
    • THE INSTITUTIONS DON’T OWN IT, AND THE ANALYSTS DON’T FOLLOW IT
    • THE RUMORS ABOUND: IT’S INVOLVED WITH TOXIC WASTE AND/OR THE MAFIA
    • THERE’S SOMETHING DEPRESSING ABOUT IT
    • IT’S A NO-GROWTH INDUSTRY
    • IT’S GOT A NICHE
    • PEOPLE HAVE TO KEEP BUYING IT
    • IT’S A USER OF TECHNOLOGY
    • THE INSIDERS ARE BUYERS
      • there’s only one reason that insiders buy: They think the stock price is undervalued and will eventually go up
      • Insider selling usually means nothing, and it’s silly to react to it.
    • THE COMPANY IS BUYING BACK SHARES

Chapter 9 – Stocks I would Avoid

  • If I could avoid a single stock, it would be the hottest stock in the hottest industry, the one that gets the most favorable publicity, the one that every investor hears about
  • Another stock I’d avoid is a stock in a company that’s been touted as the next IBM, the next McDonald’s, the next Intel, or the next Disney, etc
  • Instead of buying back shares or raising dividends, profitable companies often prefer to blow the money on foolish acquisitions – diworseification
  • Beware the ‘whisper’ stock
  • Beware the middleman
  • Beware the stock with the exciting name

Chapter 10 – Earnings, Earnings, Earnings

  • The p/e ratio can be thought of as the number of years it will take the company to earn back the amount of your initial investment— assuming, of course, that the company’s earnings stay constant
  • If you remember nothing else about p/e ratios, remember to avoid stocks with excessively high ones

Chapter 11 – The Two Minute Drill

  • Before buying a stock, I like to be able to give a two-minute monologue that covers the reasons I’m interested in it, what has to happen for the company to succeed, and the pitfalls that stand in its path

Chapter 12 – Getting the Facts

  • Even if you have no script, you can learn something by asking two general questions: “What are the positives this year?” and “What are the negatives?
  • I flip past all that and turn directly to the Consolidated Balance Sheet printed on the cheaper paper on of the report (see charts). (That’s a rule with annuals and perhaps with publications in general—the cheaper the paper the more valuable the information.) The balance sheet lists the assets and then the liabilities. That’s critical to me.
  • In the top column marked Current Assets, I notice that the company has $5.672 billion in cash and cash items, plus $4.424 billion in marketable securities. Adding these two items together, I get the company’s current overall-cash position, which I round off to $10.1 billion. Comparing the 1987 cash to the 1986 cash in the righthand column, I see that Ford is socking away more and more cash. This is a sure sign of prosperity
  • Then I go to the other half of the balance sheet, down to the entry that says “long-term debt.” Here I see that the 1987 long-term debt is $1.75 billion, considerably reduced from last year’s long-term debt. Debt reduction is another sign of prosperity. When cash increases relative to debt, it’s an improving balance sheet. When it’s the other way around, it’s a deteriorating balance sheet. Subtracting the long-term debt from the cash, I arrive at $8.35 billion, Ford’s “net cash” position. The cash and cash assets alone exceed the debt by $8.35 billion. When cash exceeds debt it’s very favorable. No matter what happens, Ford isn’t about to go out of business
  • Next, I move on to the 10-Year Financial Summary, to get a look at the ten-year picture. I discover that there are 511 million shares outstanding. I can also see that the number has been reduced in each of the past two years. This means that Ford has been buying back its own shares, another positive step. Dividing the $8.35 billion in cash (net cash position) and cash assets by the 511 million shares outstanding, I conclude that there’s $16.30 in net cash to go along with every share of Ford.
  • Questions for broker or own analysis – eg whether the business is buying back shares, whether cash exceeds long-term debt, and how much cash there is per share

Chapter 13 – Some Famous Numbers

  • PERCENT OF SALES
    • When I’m interested in a company because of a particular product, the first thing I want to know is what that product means to the company in question. What percent of sales does it represent?
  • THE PRICE/EARNINGS RATIO
    • The p/e ratio of any company that’s fairly priced will equal its growth rate. I’m talking about growth rate of earnings here
    • If the p/e of Coca-Cola is 15, you’d expect the company to be growing at about 15 percent a year, etc. But if the p/e ratio is less than the growth rate, you may have found yourself a bargain
    • In general, a p/e ratio that’s half the growth rate is very positive, and one that’s twice the growth rate is very negative.
    • A slightly more complicated formula enables us to compare growth rates to earnings, while also taking the dividends into account. Find the long-term growth rate (say, Company X’s is 12 percent), add the dividend yield (Company X pays 3 percent), and divide by the p/e ratio (Company X’s is 10). 12 plus 3 divided by 10 is 1.5. Less than a 1 is poor, and 1.5 is okay, but what you’re really looking for is a 2 or better. A company with a 15 percent growth rate, a 3 percent dividend, and a p/e of 6 would have a fabulous 3
  • THE CASH POSITION
    • When a company is sitting on billions in cash, it’s definitely something you want to know about it
  • THE DEBT FACTOR
    • One quick way to determine the financial strength of a company is to compare the equity to the debt on the right side of the balance sheet
    • A normal corporate balance sheet has 75 percent equity and 25 percent debt – ie total stockholder’s equity divided by long term debt (assume that cash holdings can cover short term debt). More than anything else, it’s debt that determines which companies will survive and which will go bankrupt in a crisis
  • DIVIDENDS
    • Blue chips with long records of paying and raising dividends are the stocks people flock to in any sort of crisis
    • I’ll take an aggressive grower over a stodgy old dividend-payer any day
  • DOES IT PAY?
    • If you do plan to buy a stock for its dividend, find out if the company is going to be able to pay it during recessions and bad times.
    • A company with a 20-or 30-year record of regularly raising the dividend is your best bet
  • BOOK VALUE
    • When you buy a stock for its book value, you have to have a detailed understanding of what those values really are.hen you buy a stock for its book value, you have to have a detailed understanding of what those values really are. Beware of stated book values
  • MORE HIDDEN ASSETS
  • CASH FLOW
    • Cash flow is the amount of money a company takes in as a result of doing business
    • I prefer to invest in companies that don’t depend on capital spending.
    • A $20 stock with $2 per share in annual cash flow has a 10-to-1 ratio, which is standard. Look for free cash flow
  • INVENTORIES
    • There’s a detailed note on inventories in the section called “management’s discussion of earnings” in the annual report. I always check to see if inventories are piling up. With a manufacturer or a retailer, an inventory buildup is usually a bad sign. When inventories grow faster than sales, it’s a red flag
  • PENSION PLANS
    • Before I invest in a turnaround, I always check to make sure the company doesn’t have an overwhelming pension obligation that it can’t meet
  • GROWTH RATE
    • a 20-percent grower selling at 20 times earnings (a p/e of 20) is a much better buy than a 10-percent grower selling at 10 times earnings (a p/e of 10).
  • THE BOTTOM LINE
    • Profit before taxes, also known as the pretax profit margin, is a tool I use in analyzing companies. That’s what’s left of a company’s annual sales dollar after all the costs, including depreciation and interest expenses, have been deducted.

Chapter 14 – Rechecking the Story

  • Every few months it’s worthwhile to recheck the company story

Chapter 15 – The Final Checklist

  • STOCKS IN GENERAL
    • The p/e ratio. Is it high or low for this particular company and for similar companies in the same industry?
    • The percentage of institutional ownership. The lower the better.
    • Whether insiders are buying and whether the company itself is buying back its own shares. Both are positive signs.
    • The record of earnings growth to date and whether the earnings are sporadic or consistent. (The only category where earnings may not be important is in the asset play.)
    • Whether the company has a strong balance sheet or a weak balance sheet (debt to-equity ratio) and how it’s rated for financial strength.
    • The cash position. With $16 in net cash, I know Ford is unlikely to drop below $16 a share. That’s the floor on the stock
  • SLOW GROWERS
    • Since you buy these for the dividends (why else would you own them?) you want to check to see if dividends have always been paid, and whether they are routinely raised.
    • When possible, find out what percentage of the earnings are being paid out as dividends. If it’s a low percentage, then the company has a cushion in hard times. It can earn less money and still retain the dividend. If it’s a high percentage, then the dividend is riskier
  • STALWARTS
    • These are big companies that aren’t likely to go out of business. The key issue is price, and the p/e ratio will tell you whether you are paying too much.
    • Check for possible diworseifications that may reduce earnings in the future.
    • Check the company’s long-term growth rate, and whether it has kept up the same momentum in recent years.
    • If you plan to hold the stock forever, see how the company has fared during previous recessions and market drops. (McDonald’s did well in the 1977 break, and in the 1984 break it went sideways. In the big Sneeze of 1987, it got blown away with the rest. Overall it’s been a good defensive stock. Bristol-Myers got clobbered in the 1973–74 break, primarily because it was so overpriced. It did well in 1982, 1984, and 1987. Kellogg has survived all the recent debacles, except for ’73–’74, in relatively healthy fashion.)
  • CYCLICALS
    • Keep a close watch on inventories, and the supply-demand relationship. Watch for new entrants into the market, which is usually a dangerous development.
    • Anticipate a shrinking p/e multiple over time as business recovers and investors look ahead to the end of the cycle when peak earnings are achieved.
    • If you know your cyclical, you have an advantage in figuring out the cycles. (For instance, everyone knows there are cycles in the auto industry. Eventually there are going to be three or four up years to follow three or four down years. There always are. Cars get older and they have to be replaced. People can put off replacing cars for a year or two longer than expected, but sooner or later they are back in the dealerships. The worse the slump in the auto industry, the better the recovery. Sometimes I root for an extra year of bad sales, because I know it will bring a longer and more sustainable upside. Lately we’ve had five years of good car sales, so I know we are in the middle, and perhaps somewhere close to the end, of a prosperous cycle. But it’s much easier to predict an upturn in a cyclical industry than it is to predict a downturn.)
    • FAST GROWERS
    • Investigate whether the product that’s supposed to enrich the company is a major part of the company’s business. It was with L’eggs, but not with Lexan.
    • What the growth rate in earnings has been in recent years. (My favorites are the ones in the 20 to 25 percent range. I’m wary of companies that seem to be growing faster than 25 percent. Those 50 percenters usually are found in hot industries, and you know what that means.)
    • That the company has duplicated its successes in more than one city or town, to prove that expansion will work.
    • That the company still has room to grow. When I first visited Pic ’N’ Save, they were established in southern California and were just beginning to talk about expanding into northern California. There were forty-nine other states to go. Sears, on the other hand, is everywhere.
    • Whether the stock is selling at a p/e ratio at or near the growth rate.
    • Whether the expansion is speeding up (three new motels last year and five new motels this year) or slowing down (five last year and three this year).
    • That few institutions own the stock and only a handful of analysts have ever heard of it. With fast growers on the rise this is a big plus.
  • TURNAROUNDS
    • Most important, can the company survive a raid by its creditors? How much cash does the company have? How much debt?
    • If it’s bankrupt already, then what’s left for the shareholders?
    • How is the company supposed to be turning around? Has it rid itself of unprofitable divisions?
  • ASSET PLAYS
    • What’s the value of the assets? Are there any hidden assets?
    • How much debt is there to detract from these assets? (Creditors are first in line.)
    • Is the company taking on new debt, making the assets less valuable?
    • Is there a raider in the wings to help shareholders reap the benefits of the assets?

 

  • Here are some pointers from this section:

    • Understand the nature of the companies you own and the specific reasons for holding the stock. (“It is really going up!” doesn’t count.)
    • By putting your stocks into categories you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from them.
    • Big companies have small moves, small companies have big moves.
    • Consider the size of a company if you expect it to profit from a specific product.
    • Look for small companies that are already profitable and have proven that their concept can be replicated.
    • Be suspicious of companies with growth rates of 50 to 100 percent a year.
    • Avoid hot stocks in hot industries.
    • Distrust diversifications, which usually turn out to be diworseifications.
    • Long shots almost never pay off.
    • It’s better to miss the first move in a stock and wait to see if a company’s plans are working out.
    • People get incredibly valuable fundamental information from their jobs that may not reach the professionals for months or even years.
    • Separate all stock tips from the tipper, even if the tipper is very smart, very rich, and his or her last tip went up.
    • Some stock tips, especially from an expert in the field, may turn out to be quite valuable. However, people in the paper industry normally give out tips on drug stocks, and people in the health care field never run out of tips on the coming takeovers in the paper industry.
    • Invest in simple companies that appear dull, mundane, out of favor, and haven’t caught the fancy of Wall Street.
    • Moderately fast growers (20 to 25 percent) in nongrowth industries are ideal investments.
    • Look for companies with niches.
    • When purchasing depressed stocks in troubled companies, seek out the ones with the superior financial positions and avoid the ones with loads of bank debt.
    • Companies that have no debt can’t go bankrupt.
    • Managerial ability may be important, but it’s quite difficult to assess. Base your purchases on the company’s prospects, not on the president’s resume or speaking ability.
    • A lot of money can be made when a troubled company turns around.
    • Carefully consider the price-earnings ratio. If the stock is grossly overpriced, even if everything else goes right, you won’t make any money.
    • Find a story line to follow as a way of monitoring a company’s progress.
    • Look for companies that consistently buy back their own shares.
    • Study the dividend record of a company over the years and also how its earnings have fared in past recessions.
    • Look for companies with little or no institutional ownership.
    • All else being equal, favor companies in which management has a significant personal investment over companies run by people that benefit only from their salaries.
    • Insider buying is a positive sign, especially when several individuals are buying at once.
    • Devote at least an hour a week to investment research. Adding up your dividends and figuring out your gains and losses doesn’t count.
    • Be patient. Watched stock never boils.
    • Buying stocks based on stated book value alone is dangerous and illusory. It’s real value that counts.
    • When in doubt, tune in later.
    • Invest at least as much time and effort in choosing a new stock as you would in choosing a new refrigerator.

PART III – The Long Term View

Chapter 16 – Designing a Portfolio

  • Nine to ten percent a year is the generic long-term return for stocks, the historic market average. You can get ten percent, over time, by investing in a no-load mutual fund that buys all 500 stocks in the S&P 500 Index, thus duplicating the average automatically
  • the individual investor who manages to make, say, 15 percent over ten years when the market average is 10 percent has done himself a considerable favor
  • A foolish diversity is the hobgoblin of small investors
  • In small portfolios I’d be comfortable owning between three and ten stocks.
  • The more stocks you own, the more flexibility you have to rotate funds between them. This is an important part of my strategy
  • I never put more than 30–40 percent of my fund’s assets into growth stocks. The rest I spread out among the other categories described in this book. Normally I keep about 10–20 percent or so in the stalwarts, another 10–20 percent or so in the cyclicals, and the rest in the turnarounds
  • My idea is to stay in the market forever, and to rotate stocks depending on the fundamental situations. I think if you decide that a certain amount you’ve invested in the stock market will always be invested in the stock market, you’ll save yourself a lot of mistimed moves and general agony
  • A price drop in a good stock is only a tragedy if you sell at that price and never buy more. To me, a price drop is an opportunity to load up on bargains from among your worst performers and your laggards that show promise
  • For reasons that should by now be obvious, I’ve always detested “stop orders,” those automatic bailouts at a predetermined price, usually 10 percent below the price at which a stock is purchased.

Chapter 17 – The Best Time to Buy and Sell

  • If you have a list of companies that you’d like to own if only the stock price were reduced, the end of the year is a likely time to find the deals you’ve been waiting for
  • WHEN TO SELL A SLOW GROWER
    • The company has lost market share for two consecutive years and is hiring another advertising agency.
    • No new products are being developed, spending on research and development is curtailed, and the company appears to be resting on its laurels.
    • Two recent acquisitions of unrelated businesses look like diworseifications, and the company announces it is looking for further acquisitions “at the leading edge of technology.”
    • The company has paid so much for its acquisitions that the balance sheet has deteriorated from no debt and millions in cash to no cash and millions in debt.
    • There are no surplus funds to buy back stock, even if the price falls sharply.
    • Even at a lower stock price the dividend yield will not be high enough to attract much interest from investors
  • WHEN TO SELL A STALWART
    • New products introduced in the last two years have had mixed results, and others still in the testing stage are a year away from the marketplace.
    • The stock has a p/e of 15, while similar-quality companies in the industry have p/e’s of 11–12.
    • No officers or directors have bought shares in the last year.
    • A major division that contributes 25 percent of earnings is vulnerable to an economic slump that’s taking place (in housing starts, oil drilling, etc.).
    • The company’s growth rate has been slowing down, and though it’s been maintaining profits by cutting costs, future cost-cutting opportunities are limited
  • WHEN TO SELL A CYCLICAL
    • Towards the end of the cycle
    • Two key union contracts expire in the next twelve months, and labor leaders are asking for a full restoration of the wages and benefits they gave up in the last contract.
    • Final demand for the product is slowing down.
    • The company has doubled its capital spending budget to build a fancy new plant, as opposed to modernizing the old plants at low cost.
    • The company has tried to cut costs but still can’t compete with foreign producers.
  • WHEN TO SELL A FAST GROWER
    • Same store sales are down 3 percent in the last quarter.
    • New store results are disappointing.
    • Two top executives and several key employees leave to join a rival firm.
    • The company recently returned from a “dog and pony” show, telling an extremely positive story to institutional investors in twelve cities in two weeks.
    • The stock is selling at a p/e of 30, while the most optimistic projections of earnings growth are 15–20 percent for the next two years
  • WHEN TO SELL A TURNAROUND
    • The best time to sell a turnaround is after it’s turned around
    • Debt, which has declined for five straight quarters, just rose by $25 million in the latest quarterly report.
    • Inventories are rising at twice the rate of sales growth.
    • The p/e is inflated relative to earnings prospects.
    • The company’s strongest division sells 50 percent of its output to one leading customer, and that leading customer is suffering from a slowdown in its own sales.

Chapter 18 – The Twelve Silliest (and Most Dangerous) Things People Say About Stock Prices

  • IF IT’S GONE DOWN THIS MUCH ALREADY, IT CAN’T GO MUCH LOWER
  • YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL WHEN A STOCK’S HIT BOTTOM
  • IF IT’S GONE THIS HIGH ALREADY, HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY GO HIGHER?
  • IT’S ONLY $3 A SHARE: WHAT CAN I LOSE?
  • EVENTUALLY THEY ALWAYS COME BACK
  • IT’S ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN
  • WHEN IT REBOUNDS TO $10, I’LL SELL
  • WHAT ME WORRY? CONSERVATIVE STOCKS DON’T FLUCTUATE MUCH
  • IT’S TAKING TOO LONG FOR ANYTHING TO EVER HAPPEN
  • LOOK AT ALL THE MONEY I’VE LOST: I DIDN’T BUY IT!
  • I MISSED THAT ONE, I’LL CATCH THE NEXT ONE
  • THE STOCK’S GONE UP, SO I MUST BE RIGHT, OR… THE STOCK’S GONE DOWN SO I MUST BE WRONG

Chapter 19 – Options, Futures, and Shorts

  • Warren Buffett thinks that stock futures and options ought to be outlawed, and I agree with him
  • Peter has no real interest in using these derivatives

Chapter 20 – 50,000 Frenchmen Can Be Wrong

  • When you invest in stocks, you have to have a basic faith in human nature, in capitalism, in the country at large, and in future prosperity in general

Section III Learnings:

  • Sometime in the next month, year, or three years, the market will decline sharply.
  • Market declines are great opportunities to buy stocks in companies you like.
  • Corrections—Wall Street’s definition of going down a lot—push outstanding companies to bargain prices.
  • Trying to predict the direction of the market over one year, or even two years, is impossible.
  • To come out ahead you don’t have to be right all the time, or even a majority of the time.
  • The biggest winners are surprises to me, and takeovers are even more surprising. It takes years, not months, to produce big results.
  • Different categories of stocks have different risks and rewards.
  • You can make serious money by compounding a series of 20–30 percent gains in stalwarts.
  • Stock prices often move in opposite directions from the fundamentals but long term, the direction and sustainability of profits will prevail.
  • Just because a company is doing poorly doesn’t mean it can’t do worse.
  • Just because the price goes up doesn’t mean you’re right.
  • Just because the price goes down doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
  • Stalwarts with heavy institutional ownership and lots of Wall Street coverage that have outperformed the market and are overpriced are due for a rest or a decline.
  • Buying a company with mediocre prospects just because the stock is cheap is a losing technique.
  • Selling an outstanding fast grower because its stock seems slightly overpriced is a losing technique.
  • Companies don’t grow for no reason, nor do fast growers stay that way forever.
  • You don’t lose anything by not owning a successful stock, even if it’s a tenbagger.
  • A stock does not know that you own it.
  • Don’t become so attached to a winner that complacency sets in and you stop monitoring the story.
  • If a stock goes to zero, you lose just as much money whether you bought it at $50, $25, $5, or $2—everything you invested.
  • By careful pruning and rotation based on fundamentals, you can improve your results. When stocks are out of line with reality and better alternatives exist, sell them and switch into something else.
  • When favorable cards turn up, add to your bet, and vice versa.
  • You won’t improve results by pulling out the flowers and watering the weeds.
  • If you don’t think you can beat the market, then buy a mutual fund and save yourself a lot of extra work and money.
  • There is always something to worry about.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas.
  • You don’t have to “kiss all the girls.” I’ve missed my share of tenbaggers and it hasn’t kept me from beating the market.

 

One Up On Wall Street – Closing thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this book. You could sense that even though Peter is up there with the guru investors, he is a very down-to-earth kind of guy with a great sense of humour.

Lots to learn here and certainly will be on my list again for a re-read. Folk may not always agree with what Gurus say but from my own experience in the markets, you would be foolish to ignore their wisdom from years of real hands on experience. I would certainly recommend this book to any investor, new or experienced.

Giving Peter the final say, “Well, I think the secret is if you have a lot of stocks, some will do mediocre, some will do okay, and if one of two of ’em go up big time, you produce a fabulous result. And I think that’s the promise to some people”.

If you enjoyed this book review, you will also enjoy my review of the “Intelligent Investor“.

Read, learn, enjoy, be persistent and most importantly, take action!

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