Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side

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Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side

Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side

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An empty building (a) has a replacement value, of course, but it (b) throws off no revenues and (c) costs money to own, in the form of taxes, insurance, minimum maintenance, interest payments and opportunity costs. Of course, repeating key points can help you remember them but there is a limit and, in my opinion, Mr Marks crosses it. Well, you and they are all probably reading the same articles and looking at the same data, so their guesses about future events will probably be as good as yours.

Corporate management is not immune to the swings from risk-averse to risk-tolerant either (see the financial crisis). That said, the book is bound to make you re-evaluate your investment portfolio and ask yourself whether you’re thinking for yourself or following the herd. Investment success is ultimately determined by positioning, asset selection, aggressiveness/defensiveness, skill, and luck. But whenever the pendulum is near either extreme, it is inevitable that it will move back toward the midpoint sooner or later.

Company profits follow a cycle similar to the economy but not all companies follow the same pattern. Because cycles are influenced in the short term by people and other variables, it has no constant rate. Spring turns to summer, summer to autumn, autumn to winter, and winter, finally, leads back to spring. But there’s also such a thing as opportunity risk: the likelihood of missing out on potential gains. Financial Leverage: Debt – cost is tied to interest payments, which rises and falls based on the amount of debt and/or interest rate being charged.

We have two classes of forecasters: those who don’t know — and those who don’t know they don’t know. Just as investors swing between greed and fear, what is the cycle for central bankers and what do we need to look for to identify potential turning points. There can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance.Since risk (that is, uncertainty with regard to future developments, and the possibility of bad outcomes) is the primary source of the challenge in investing, the ability to understand, assess and deal with risk is the mark of the superior investor and an essential—I’m tempted to say the essential—requirement for investment success.

The study of cycles is really about how to position your portfolio for the possible outcomes that lie ahead. In other words, no two cycles play out in exactly the same way, but they do all tend to follow the same repetitive pattern.

Conscientious belief in the inevitability of cycles like I’m urging means that a number of words and phrases must be excluded from the intelligent investor’s vocabulary. Overall I feel the first half of the book that explains cycles is stronger than the second part, what to do about them. It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. By the end of these blinks, you should have a feel for how they work and, therefore, be that much closer to becoming a superior investor.

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