Friday, June 24, 2011

Are Short-Term Value plays an Oxymoron?

I lean towards battered down "value" stocks. I find a stock and then get extremely excited; However, when I start writing, talking or doing research, I need to remember to constantly suppress my cognitive biases. There are too many to mention, but the biases that apply to this post are:
  • the tendency of someone to overestimate the probability of a favorable outcome coming to pass in a given situation
  • inaccurately perceiving a relationship between two events, either because of prejudice or selective processing of information.
  • ignoring an obvious (negative) situation.
  • excessive confidence in one's own answers to questions.
Please bear with me on that last one - Overconfidence. How can an introvert like me have such wild mood swings? The narrative goes as follows: I find a stock and get extremely excited. If you did a Google search on the definition of conviction, my picture would show up. Time passes and nothing has happened, I start to doubt myself. I finally sell in frustration and depression.

Is a Short-Term Value Play an oxymoron?
TrashStocks says:
"Absolutely not.  Value can exist for a short time.  Day traders bet on it.  How do you define value?  Is value buy-and-hold? or are there value "windows"? 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 1 decade?
interesting idea...
just as a bubble is essentially a window of opportunity, both for momentum traders and for people who short stocks.
momentum on the way up, shorts on the way down" 

War Stories
We all can recount of a memorable personal experience, especially one involving challenge, hardship, danger, or other interesting features.  As my limited trading experience increases I will accumulate these war stories.  This will wean me from a lot of these biases. Of the remaining list, I will just need to be more disciplined.

One bias I hope I don't lose is the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action. This has served me well in the past. My latest battered dog is Brightpoint, Inc (CELL). It is a good company that has been battered down because of an announcement by AT&T that they are acquiring T-Mobile. The perception is that CELL would likely lose its current contracts and be shut-out from the newly merged behemoth.

Wall Street Journal has stated
"Overall growth in wireless customers on monthly contracts has stalled as the market has become saturated. Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have all managed to keep a tight grip on their customers, but T-Mobile's losses of contract customers accelerated to 471,000 in the first quarter from 318,000 in the fourth quarter and 60,000 in the third."
The much-publicized AT&T merger with T-Mobile is not a "done deal;" it will likely be next year before a decision is made on whether to allow the country's second and fourth largest wireless operators to merge.

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