Monday, January 29, 2007

They are not interested in companies, but only in making money!

Read this phrase in a book I am currently reading - The Money Game by Michael Lewis, author of the famous book - Liars Poker. The phrase is in reference to the tactics used by brokers in the eighties and during the IT boom of late nineties.

A brokerate firm would create a fictitious company, which will co-incidently belong to the hottest sector of that time, to dupe gullible investors like doctors, engineers, lawyers, housewives, old pensioners, etc. They used to trap them by making them believe that their fictitious company was for real, and that it was the next Microsoft, Intel or Pfizer thereby inducing them to make token investments, of say - 10-20,000 dollars.

There comes a phase in a bull market, when pple are only interested in making money and are least interested to know about the company. So as a broker, what you gotto effectively do is give them hope to make money, without bothering too much about the underlying company. The 'title' of this article reflects investing attitude of such times.

The trap works particularly well towards the end of a bull market. Smart investors are always on the look out of such desperations to identify market tops.

Most investors, small or big, get at some or the other time get affected by this type of a desperate investing attitude. People stuck with scrips like DSQ Software, Silverline Technologies, HFCL, Global Telesystems (now called as GTL Ltd.), Aftek Infosys, etc. are victims of such mindless buying of scrips, recommended either by the friendly broker (who by the way never tells u to hold on to a scrip for life or who never advocates long term investing) and the friendly neighbour, who happens to be privy to some smart "tips", even though they never seem to be doing any good to them in the long run (financially, ie).

I think investors should watch three movies and read the following two books before taking investment decisions:

The movies:
1).The Wall Street
2).Boiler Room
3).Barbarians at the Gate

The books:
1).The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
2).A Random Walk Down Wallstreet by Burton Malkiel.

PS: I too have been a victim of one-such mindless act where I purchased shares of a company called IFSL. And, this is not too long ago. Maybe even I was trying to simply make money, without bothering too much about the how & why of it!

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