Investor Cognitive Biases: Scarcity Error

Continuing the series on common cognitive biases that impact investors. In case you missed it, read the introduction and first in the series: neglect of probability here What is scarce is valuable – Scarcity Error In a research project in 1975, Prof. Stephen Worchel split participants into two groups. The first group received an entire box of cookies and the second group just two to taste. Both groups were then asked to rate the quality of the cookies. This was repeated several times. The 2nd group rated the quality of the cookies much higher than the other. Gallery owners place

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Understanding cognitive bias or how to not let your brain sabotage you

Investing can be hard. Finding the right companies. Evaluating their long-term competitiveness. Gauging “market sentiment” and it’s position on the arc from ‘Greed’ to ‘Fear’. Choosing to enter / to exit / to just stay put. Ken Heebner, who ran CGM funds from 1968 to 2016, was a legendary fund manager known for taking gutsy contrarian calls. For over a decade, his fund, CGM Focus returned 18.4% annually, beating the nearest comparable fund by 3.4%. Exceptional by any means. An analysis of investor returns in the fund, dollar-weighted returns taking into account capital flowing in and out, showed the typical

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5 things not commonly known about the NIFTY

Earlier this week, NSE announced effective Sep 29, 4 stocks (ACC, Bank of Baroda, Tata Power, Tata Motors DVR) will be dropped and 3 (Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Petroleum, UPL) will be added to the NIFTY. When analysts talk about the performance of the “Indian Stock Market”, they are typically talking about the NSE NIFTY Index, and the BSE Sensex Index (to a lesser extent). Most investors know the NIFTY consists of 50 stocks (currently 51), of the largest companies by market capitalisation trading on the Indian markets. 5 things not commonly known about the NIFTY: 5. How the NIFTY 50

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Evaluating stocks with TCI Rapid X-Ray

So many stocks…So little time Investing is largely a process of elimination, and the more efficiently you can eliminate investments that do not check the boxes on your investing checklist, the more time you can spend diving deep into the ones that do. For equity investors in the Indian Stock Market, there are about 1,500 listed stocks on the NSE and nearly 5,000 on the BSE, to choose from when making investment decisions. Sure, there are ways to whittle that list down using filters of market capitalisation and sectors, but you’re still left with a few hundred potential investments to

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12 Axioms of Risk Reward followed by generations of Swiss Bankers

How is it that Switzerland, a tiny country, poor in natural resources and arable land, has one of the highest per capita incomes and standards of living in the world? This is the enticing premise with which Max Gunther opens his book The Zurich Axioms: The rules of risk and reward used by generations of Swiss bankers “The Swiss did not become the world’s bankers by sitting in dark rooms chewing their fingernails. They did it by facing risk head-on and figuring out how to manage it.” And therefore, the author says, there is a lot to learn about how

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Are you a super investor or even an average one?

What counts as exceptional investment performance? This tweet appeared on my timeline a few days ago. It shows the outperformance of legendary investors versus the S&P 500 and their longevity as investors 2/ Nearly impossible to sustain large excess returns in public markets..at 20% returns you become one of the richest people in the world: — Meb Faber (@MebFaber) July 27, 2017 Assuming the data here is accurate, this chart says, literally, only a handful of professional money managers, have consistently outperformed the broader market. I’m not clear whether the x-axis shows the number of years they beat the S&P

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The difference between Stock Splits and Bonus Issues

Earlier this month, Yes Bank shares climbed 1% on news that they would consider a stock split in their next board meeting. On July 21st, Reliance Industries Limited announced a 1:1 bonus issue in it’s 40th AGM. If you’ve been investing in stocks for any length of time, you’ve probably come across such announcements from time to time. Both of these result in existing shareholders of the company getting additional shares. So, what is the difference between stock splits and bonus issues? First, let’s look at what’s NOT different between the two: Number of Shares Outstanding: Both stock splits and

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The financial metric that matters more than profits

Our ‘Earnings’ Obsession They are called “Earnings Calls” Defined by Investopedia as “A conference call between the management of a public company, analysts, investors and the media to discuss the financial results during a given reporting period such as a quarter or a fiscal year. An earnings call is usually preceded by an earnings report, which contains summary information on financial performance for the period.” The financial media has it front and centre as the metric to watch and report. No wonder then that we seek out “Earnings per Share” more than other investment metrics. So what’s wrong with Earnings

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