Investors know that it’s always easier to sell a stock when it is going up--the more people who want to buy your stock, the better the price. I also strongly believe that it never pays to be greedy when it comes to the stock market. There is an old Wall Street saying, “Bulls make money; bears make money but pigs get slaughtered.”
Investors who consistently pursue a bullish long-term strategy can make money, as can investors who consistently apply a bearish strategy. The investors who do poorly--i.e. “get slaughtered”--are those who are greedy and who always chase the hot stocks or hold onto stocks too long.
You will almost never be able to sell a stock at exactly the right time--just as it peaks and starts to go down. If you try to do that, more often than not you will find yourself selling just as everyone decides to sell too and the price is falling like a rock. All of this said, selling is rarely easy.
In fact, I generally find selling much harder than buying. It is frequently pretty easy to spot a stock that is undervalued, but you may have to wait a while for other investors to realize how cheap your stock is and bid it up. If you’ve done your analysis correctly though, they eventually will. I often find it difficult to determine when a stock is getting fully valued. When a stock is rising, that usually means that there are a lot of smart people who have good reasons why they think it will go much higher still…and they may be right--for a while.
That is why we often recommend selling stocks that are performing very well. One of the keys to making money in the stock market is being content with taking solid profits--and leaving the pigs to fight over the last few points.
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