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Investors versus Speculators

 

Investing

"An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and as adequate return.  Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative"- Benjamin Graham

"Contradistinctions"

 Investor

 Speculator

  • Views share ownership as a % interest in the business
  • Views "stock" as piece of paper to be traded
  • Believes market often misprices business and at times is inefficient
  • Believes market price is the value of the business and the market is efficient
  • Asks, what is the business worth
  • Asks, where is the stock going
  • Makes investment decision based on appraisal of corporate intrinsic value and qualitative judgments
    regarding competitiveness and management
  • Looks to stock price/charts for clues to buy and sell
  • Focuses on capturing mispricing
  • Tries to time the market or forecast prices
  • Seeks large "margin of safety" of value greater than price for preservation of capital and a promise of return
  • Seeks chart patterns for trading profits
  • Concentrates on business economics
  • Ignores business fundamentals
  • Is patient and has a long term investment time horizon
  • Is impatient with a short term trading  time horizon
  • Disciplined, willing to wait for high probability, understandable, opportunity
  • Feels pressure to always be "playing"
  • Incurs low costs and taxes
  • Incurs high costs and taxes
  • Commitments have high probability of success
  • Commitments have marginal probability of success
  • Rarely uses any leverage
  • Often is highly leveraged
  • Is comfortable with a defendable contrary position
  • Is uncomfortable unless following the consensus
  • Thinks independently
  • Is usually part of the "crowd"
  • Looks to new low list for opportunity
  • Focuses on the new high list
  • Defines risk as probability of losing permanent capital considering business and financial risks
  • Defines risk as stock price volatility, beta
  • Believes in adequate but not over diversification
  • Often ignores diversification