Buy-and-hold hasn’t looked too good lately, but churn-and-burn is no better.

Stocks are sloshing around faster and cheaper than ever. You can trade online for $7.95 or less. Nearly 2 billion shares are handled daily on the NYSE, not counting trades in rival markets. Throw those in, and trading is a tidal wave, averaging 9.4 billion shares so far in February-up from 9.1 billion in January, says Rosenblatt Securities.

Pause before you plunge. Trading costs money, raises your tax bill and can reinforce bad habits. As Benjamin Graham defined it, investing requires ‘thorough analysis’ and ‘promises safety of principal and an adequate return.’ Trading on rumors, hunches or fears is antithetical to investing.

Mr. Graham insisted that ‘the typical individual investor has a great advantage over the large institutions’-largely because individuals, unlike institutions, needn’t measure performance over absurdly short horizons. The faster you trade, the more you fritter away that advantage.

A new study by Mercer, the consulting firm, and IRRC Institute, an investing think tank, asked the managers of more than 800 institutional funds how often they traded.

Two-thirds had higher turnover than they predicted; on average, they underestimated their turnover rate by 26 percentage points. Even though most are judged by performance over three-year horizons, their average holding period was about 17 months, and 19% of the managers held the typical stock for one year or less.

One vehemently denied being too focused on the short term, complaining that hedge funds ‘have caused market-wide turnover to increase’ and that ‘retail investors tend to look at short-term performance and move in and out of funds’ too quickly.

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones; this manager, according to Mercer, holds the typical stock for about 27 weeks at a time.

Even while grousing that the market is too short-term oriented, these experts think they can beat it by being even more short-term oriented themselves. ‘There’s a very deep level of overconfidence,’ says Danyelle Guyatt, one of the study’s co-authors.

For individual and professional investors alike, more trading doesn’t ensure higher returns.

An analysis of nearly 2 million trades by discount-brokerage customers found that those who traded the most earned returns no higher than those who traded the least. After deducting brokerage costs, the fastest traders fell far behind the slowest.

According to Morningstar, mutual funds with the highest portfolio turnover rates have underperformed the slowest-trading funds by an annual average of 1.8 percentage points over the past decade. A study of pension-fund stock portfolios found that, on average, the funds would have raised their annual returns by nearly a full percentage point if the managers had gone on a 12-month vacation and never made a single trade.

That is probably because so many investors tend to sell winners too soon. Only later-if ever-might you notice that you replaced a winner with a stock that isn’t as good. Meantime, locking in a gain makes you feel that have accomplished something.

‘It is difficult to justify your existence [as a money manager] by not taking action,’ says Jon Lukomnik, a co-author of the Mercer/IRRC study. When markets are wrenching up and down, he adds, ‘It takes a very secure person to say, ‘I don’t have to trade.”

It also is worth recalling what Warren Buffett wrote in February 1992, when the Dow was at 3200: ‘The stock market serves as a relocation center at which money is moved from the active to the patient.’

股票投资 快进快出赚钱更少

买入并持有的方式最近不太管用,但频繁交易也不比它好。

股票比以前流动地更快也更便宜了。只要7.95美元甚至更少,你就能上网进行交易。据Rosenblatt Securities公司称,纽约证券交易所每天的交易量近20亿股,这还不包括竞争市场中的交易。全都算上,交易量有如滔天巨浪,2月份迄今为止平均达94亿股,比1月份的91亿股有所上升。

冲进股市之前先暂停一下。交易耗费资金,增加纳税额,并能助长不良习惯。正如格雷厄姆(Benjamin Graham)所述,投资需要全面分析并保证本金的安全和充足的回报。基于传言、预感或恐惧的交易与投资的含义有天壤之别。

格雷厄姆坚持认为普通的个人投资者与大型机构相比有一个巨大的优势。主要是个人与机构不同,不需要进行荒谬的短期业绩评测。因此,交易越频繁,就越浪费这一优势。

咨询公司Mercer和投资智库IRRC Institute进行的最新调查中询问了800多家机构基金的经理的交易频率。

三分之二的人的交易量高于预期;他们的交易率平均被自己低估了26%。尽管大多数人的业绩均以三年为周期进行评判,但他们的平均持股时间约为17个月,其中19%的基金经理一般持股时间仅为一年或更短。

一位基金经理强烈否认自己过于关注短期业务,抱怨说对冲基金导致市场流通量增加,散户倾向于关注短期业绩,并且过快的买进和卖出基金。

自身有短,莫笑他人;据Mercer公司调查显示,这名基金经理一般每次持股时间约为27周。

这些专家们一边抱怨市场过于以短期为导向,一边又认为他们自己能够通过更为短期的方式跑赢市场。该研究报告的合着者盖耶特(Danyelle Guyatt)说,这是非常严重的过于自负的表现。

更多的交易并不确保更高的回报,这对个人和专业投资者都一样。

对折扣经纪券商客户近200万笔交易进行分析后发现,交易最频繁者所赚取的收益并不比交易最少者的收益高。扣除经纪业务成本后,交易最快者远远落后于交易最慢者。

据晨星公司(Morningstar)称,投资组合交易率最高的共同基金在过去十年间的年平均业绩比交易最慢的基金低1.8个百分点。对退休基金股票投资组合的研究发现,平均而言,如果基金经理休假12个月、不做一单交易,基金年回报率将增加近一个百分点。

这可能是因为许多投资者倾向于过快地卖出赚钱的股票,直到后来才发现用不太好的股票代替了赚钱的股票。同时,锁定收益让人有一种成就感。

Mercer/IRRC研究的合着者卢孔尼克(Jon Lukomnik)说,不采取行动就很难证明一位资金管理人存在的正当性。他还说,如果市场上下波动,要很有把握的人才敢说,我用不着交易。

巴菲特的话仍然值得记取:1992年2月道指位于3200点时,他写道,股市就是一个再交换中心,资金从积极人士之手流向有耐心之人手中。

Jason Zweig

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