Monday, January 21, 2008

What a legendary investor did during a stockmarket crash

With European markets falling over 6% during Monday’s trade(marking a 20%+ drop since last June) and Wall Street set to fall sharply on Tuesday, its easy to feel a sense of panic right now. Are we in for 1987 all over again?

Let me tell you what Shelby Cullom Davis did on that infamous day “Black Monday” in 1987. Davis , one of the greatest investors of all time, achieved 20% plus compounded share returns over multiple decades and put himself on the Forbes rich list.

On Black Monday, Shelby Davis picked up the phone & placed millions in buy orders to his broker’s trading desk. His office manager thought he had gone mad and tried to hang up Davis’s phone. But Davis grabbed the receiver back and kept on dialing(The Davis Dynasty – Rothchild)*

After the market had closed, Davis had lost $125 million* on paper. But as far as Davis was concerned, he hadn’t lost anything. He had bought many stocks at big discounts to what he knew was their real value. Why did other investors sell to Davis? Because they panicked. Over time Davis was proven right as Wall Street rallied following its Black Monday correction.

There’s a well known saying that when panics occur in the stockmarket, wealth flows from weak hands to strong hands.

So whatever happens on Tuesday or beyond, remember what Shelby Cullom Davis did. The worst thing you can do during a panic is to sell. And if you have the nerve and conviction, its probably smarter to buy stocks on discount.

*(The Davis Dynasty by John Rothchild is an excellent book I highly recommend).

Disclaimer: The above comments represent the authors own opinions and are not intended as investment advice and should not be relied upon as investment advice.

No comments: