This week we look at mistakes and why we don't learn from them, at least not initially. Good friend James Montier explores the limits to learning we all have and offers some help on how to overcome them. Investors are constantly facing these challenges against their own biases when making sound decisions.
James is the Director of Global Strategy at Dresdner Kleinwort Watterstein, a London and Frankfurt based investment bank. He is also a prolific writer and author of the book "Behavioral Finance - Insights into Irrational Minds and Markets."
Maybe for us to be able to think more "Outside the Box" we must first look within our own "boxes." I hope that you find some insight into your own learning process.
This week's letter is from John P. Hussman, Ph.D., President of Hussman Investment Trust. John manages the Hussman Strategic Total Return Fund - HSTRX and the Hussman Strategic Growth Fund - HSGFX and writes his Weekly Market Commentary.
Following are two recent Weekly Market Commentaries that touch on contrarian investing and price movements in the markets. Last week, James Montier told us that to succeed in investing you need to take a contrarian approach, but Hussman says "not so fast," and that always being contrarian may not be the best idea. Sometimes it is a good idea to go along with the crowd.
In the second part, Hussman explores a common belief, seen everyday in the media, that money moves into and out of the markets. However for every seller there is a buyer and the movement of markets is based on perceived value rather than money flows. As always Hussman has some interesting insights and that is why these were picked for this week's Outside the Box.
Two weeks ago in Thoughts From the Frontline, I mentioned a piece by one of my favorite contrarians and behavioral finance analysts, James Montier of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. It was going to be the Outside the Box last week, but a previous letter by Montier was sent instead.
I normally try not to use the same author two weeks in a row, but this was an exceptional letter and I wanted to bring it to my readers. James pulls together research and observations from many sources in order to prove his point and show that being a contrarian is not always the easy path to follow. I have always said that the time to own equities will be during the next recession when everyone else has given up on them, but that will also be the hardest time to buy. James helps explain why it is so hard to be contrarian and that is why it is this week's Outside the Box.
This week's report is about some research finding from a group in Bellevue, Washington called Evergreen Capital Management, LLC. They have built a proprietary model that is used to predict when mutual fund styles (large-mid-small capitalization, value-growth) are being overbought or oversold. They believe that their model is quite good at predicting returns relative to the overall market over the subsequent two years.
This report does an excellent job of weaving together many of the themes from my past letters and book, Bull's Eye Investing. We find behavioral finance, herd mentality, why investors fail, how Wall Street works, contrarian investing and more. I think you will find the results of their research along with their other comments very valuable the next time you find yourself scanning the top performing funds of the recent past and that is why I chose it as this week's Outside The Box.