In today's issue of the Wall Street Journal, Jason Zweig wrote an article titled "Ode to the Wall Street Platitude". It's worth reading in its entirety. I quote it here:
"Proverbs are peculiar. Heard one at a time, they sound so sage and familiar that we seldom notice how contradictory they would be if we compared them. Somehow, “opposites attract” even as “birds of a feather flock together”; “the devil takes the hindmost,” but “haste makes waste”; “two heads are better than one,” yet “too many cooks spoil the broth.”
Perhaps more than other walks of life, Wall Street abounds in pithy sayings that clash with each other (and often with common sense and the principles of prudent investing). To commemorate my 10th anniversary writing this column for The Wall Street Journal, I decided to write a column that consists of nothing but the platitudes that financial professionals have bombarded me with over the years.
Mashed up in the right order, the clichés of investing turn into a form of “found poetry” or literary collage. Or, in this case, doggerel. I’d like to think that when you encounter Wall Street’s proverbs set up like this, they will seem suddenly naked and nonsensical to you, as they do to me.
Buy low, sell high,Trees don’t grow to the sky.Buy right and hold tight,Sell in May and go away.As January goes, so goes the year.Buy the rumor, sell the news,Buy the dips, sell the rips,Buy on the cannons, sell on the trumpets.Don’t fight the tape.Don’t fight the Fed.The trend is your friend.Buy your dollars for 50 cents.Buy when blood is running in the streets.The easy money has been made.When the market gives you lemons, make lemonade.Cut your losers and let your winners ride.Never fall in love with a stock.Hold on for dear life.Never marry a stock.Don’t try to catch a falling knife.Being right too soon is the same as being wrong.Stocks take the stairs up and the elevator down.It’s always darkest before the dawn.Don’t try to get rich in a hurry.The retail investor is always wrong.Bull markets climb a wall of worry.The market is like a coiled spring.The Fed is pushing on a string.In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.Cash is trash. Cash is king.This time is different.It’s a stock picker’s market.It’s a market of stocks, not a stock market.Our thesis is still intact.Sooner or later, stocks always come back.It’s only a paper loss unless you sell.You can either sleep well or eat well.When you get a hunch, bet a bunch.There’s no such thing as a free lunch.Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.Put all your eggs in one basket,And watch that basket!Bears make money, bulls make money, but pigs get slaughtered.When the ducks quack, feed ’em.The numbers don’t lie.We think this stock is oversold.We’re keeping our powder dry.When the U.S. sneezes, the world catches cold.A rising tide lifts all boats.We only buy stocks with competitive moats.There are old pilots,And there are bold pilots,But there are no old, bold pilots.It’s priced for perfection.It’s forming a bottom.We’re overdue for a correction.It’s finding support.Nobody ever went broke taking a profit.We like it because it has hair on it.Bull markets die of old age.Bull markets die with a whimper not a bang.Bull markets don’t die of old age.Plan your trade, trade your plan.I’m always a contrarian.A stopped clock is right twice a day.Hope is not a strategy.Failing to plan is planning to fail,To a man with a hammer everything’s a nail.There’s never just one cockroach in the kitchen.We eat our own cooking.We always invest with conviction.We have a strict sell discipline.If you’re so smart, how come you aren’t rich?They always beat the consensus.I only swing when I get a fat pitch.We always swing for the fences.We hit for singles, not for home runs.You wouldn’t pick the cheapest surgeon, why pick the cheapest funds?We remain constructive on these stocks.Where are the customers’ yachts?"
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.