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Invest, don’t gamble


December 6, 2018 Letters to the Editor

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As reported in Sunday’s Eagle article “Stock ticker keeps students informed” (Nov. 25, Page B6), business students at Slippery Rock University are now able to track the immediate response of the market’s activity. Unfortunately, most of the short-term activity in the market is simply noise, or just pure speculation. The price of a stock — in the long run — eventually reflects the earnings of a company. Therefore, my advice to these B-school students: ignore the day-to-day ups and downs of the market, it’s likely just a distraction.

Moreover, caution against buying and selling in an attempt to pick winning stocks; it’s a loser’s game. Instead, evaluate your appetite for risk, and develop a tolerable asset allocation strategy. To capture your fair share of the market’s positive expected return, index your portfolio, and occasionally rebalance. Most importantly, maintain a long-term perspective. Good investing is akin to watching the grass grow. The ticker board is certainly aesthetic; although in my opinion, it serves no meaningful purpose to the intelligent investor.

Holland is the Butler County controller.

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