Reblog: The Agony of High Returns


Even with a time machine, a lot of people wouldn’t want to own the best-performing stocks.

Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST) was the best-performing stock from 1995 to 2015. It increased 105,000%, turning $10,000 into more than $10 million.

But this isn’t a retrospective about how you should wish you owned Monster stock. It’s almost the opposite.

The truth is that Monster has been a gut-wrenching nightmare to own over the last 20 years. It traded below its previous all-time high on 94% of days during that period. On average, its stock was 26% below its high of the previous two years. It suffered four separate drops of 50% or more. It lost more than two-thirds of its value twice, and more than three-quarters once.

That’s how the stock market works.

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Reblog: Mean Reversion and the Bell Curve


The pressure to outperform all the time leads stock pickers to constantly seek mean reversion trades

Over a three-year time period, stock prices tend to mean revert. This has spawned numerous investment approaches that try to squeeze capital gains out of those reversions. Classic deep value investing, as popularised by Benjamin Graham at Columbia Business School, taught that you would succeed by buying 50-cent dollars and selling them when and if they reverted to the mean. The “Dogs of the Dow” strategy of buying the 10 highest-yielding Dow stocks was born out of mean reversion.

Over long time periods, common stock performance falls on a bell curve like the one listed below. Half the stocks outperform and half underperform. Among the poorest performers, some go to 0%, and 5% of common stocks do so poorly that they can ruin a concentrated stock portfolio. (1)

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