Monday, July 27, 2009

Some Lessons Learnt

While my portfolio has yet to recover from its fall of 70%, it may be a good time for me to revist the lessons I have learn during this stock crisis.

1st Lesson: 90%+ of the stocks fall drastically during a real stock crisis.
This is probably why Michael Leong's advice is to sell all stocks during the onset of stock crisis. The cheap gets cheaper during stock crisis.

2nd lesson: The last-third of the stock crisis tend to be the heaviest decline.
This is pointed out by Kenneth Fisher in this book "The only three questions that count". And this salient observation repeated itself in Oct 2008.

3rd lesson: When quality stocks are not cheap, get out.
This is the lesson I have to learn the hard way. I should have left the stock market in mid-2007 when quality stocks and even sub-quality stocks (e.g. CG Tech) are expensive. I should not have bought into Contel at all. Many regrets here. Low quality stocks can become worthless.

4th lesson: Cash is the best when everything is expensive
A lesson related to the 3rd lesson. A lesson that I am still learning.

5th lesson: Always prefer quality businesses with low debt at low, if not reasonable, price
Quality means a) less cyclical businesses, b) high NTA to price and NTA is in mainly cash and properties, or c) market leader.

6th lesson: See further, Examine deeper
a) where will this stock be one to three years down the road?
b) what is the downside to this stock?
c) what are the factors that will lead to the price of this stock to increase?

I may add on to the above list if I have any more lessons to be shared.