INNOVATOR, IMITATOR, AND THE IDIOT — 12 – THE MARKET CYCLE

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As an investor, we have to deal with the prices of assets and evaluate where currently its standing and what can be in the future. Prices of assets are getting affected by fundamental and psychology.

Psychology of the people does not remain the same forever. It will change for any of the reasons for millions of reasons.

Rising prices of the assets make investors’ psychology in the optimistic area and falling prices of the assets make investors’ psychology in the pessimistic area. The reason and result for the occurrence of the cycle do not remain the same with all the cycle but it is sure to a repetition of a cycle. Performance numbers are already recorded and sometimes, we require skill to understand it thoroughly. This is a past and we are not able to predict the future. It is essential to roughly think about the future to protect our investment. Second-level thinking also help us to understand the psychology of the market participants and act according to our conclusions.

There are few factors which influence and force cycle to occur.

Confirmation bias where investors seek for a piece of information or events which supports the thesis or not.

The tendency toward non-linear utility where we value a money loss is far greater than money made.

The gullibility is which influence the investors to swallow tales at good times which have the potential to gain at a good time and the excessive scepticism that makes them reject all possibility of gains in bad times.

Risk tolerance and risk aversion which investor ask for risk premium for the incremental risk.

Herd behaviour indicates to act with keep in mind that what the other people are doing.

One of the highly influential bias is to see other people making money with the idea which we have rejected initially. We do not resist such situations and left with the buying those assets which resulted in a boost to the asset bubble. Also, we generally do not select an unpopular idea and prefer to go with the herd.

All such biases lastly transform into the greed for more, envy of the money others is making, and fear of loss.

A bull market where prices of assets risen, rising or will raise and bear market where prices of assets fallen, falling or will going to fall.

But there are three-phase of the bull market –

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In the first phase, growth and better improvement are invisible to most of the investors. Because it does not have a huge price appreciation, also occurs after the crash, wipeout of the prices has affected the psychology of investors.

In the last phase, prices of assets have risen, improvements are visible & started a long back. This improves the mood of the market and investors where they are ready to pay any price for the assets.

It is obvious that those who buy assets in the first phase, those got assets are at bargain prices and the probability of making money is huge. Whereas those who buy assets are at last phase then assets are available at costlier prices so that probability of losses are higher.

 “What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end.”

Warren Buffett has said much the same thing even more concisely: “First the innovator, then the imitator, then the idiot.”

As we have seen three phases of a bull market, there is also a three phases bear market.

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We have to see the problem behind the scene. Because an excess of good things always invites trouble. And an excess of pessimism gives birth to the new era of optimism. We need to focus on each little thing happening into the surrounding which helps us to recognize problem or opportunity earlier than others.

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People always get pain when they see others are making money so that they fear continuing of trend and they will miss out on an opportunity. Thus, they also join the trend. Such influence affects the investors who have rightly enter at the first phase and by affecting the psychology, they again enter the last phase where they involve doing the wrong things. The most brilliant person also can fall under such psychological influences.

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We also have to understand that the bubble is not always where the market raises and also not bust where the market falls.

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If the company is good in quality then also it has taken around six years to reach the same price but if assets are not good quality then it gets disappear after the bubble get burst.

No assets are good enough that it will never be going to become overvalued. Price does not matter and borrowing money to make an investment are a sign of building a bubble. I have met a few of the people who take a loan on credit card, use credit period to trade in the market. Such is a sign of the bubble. This was an incident of late 2017 and starting of 2018.

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We can see that good news, maximum availability of the credit, maximum optimism in psychology, maximum prices, minimum potential returns, etc. All come at the same time, which is a signal for the identification of the bubble.

Reversed to the top, the bottom has an inability to get credits, falling in the asset’s prices, maximum pessimism, bad news flows, minimum risk.

Disclosure – Companies mentioned in the article are just for an example & educational purpose. It is not a buy/sell/ hold recommendation. 

Read for more detail: Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Mr.Howard Marks

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