The Foolish Lesson [Fribble] April 10, 2000

Fribble The Foolish Lesson

By (Noah Davis)
April 10, 2000

"The lesson is but plain/And once made perfect, never lost again."

-- Shakespeare, Venus & Adonis
As those who are investors, especially Wise investors, have cried in their cups (or maybe they're rather large vats) over the past week of Nasdaq trading on the Nasdaq, my portfolio actually jumped 10%. Am I some kind of fortune-teller? A seer of visions? A first among equals?

Simply put: No. I am just a not-so-humble Fool.

To be perfectly honest -- and who doesn't want to be perfectly honest -- my portfolio is down 0.48% since I started it last fall. I invested 50% of my stake in an S&P index fund, and 12.5% in each of the then-Fool-4 stocks, Caterpillar, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, and General Motors. Since then, each of the first three Fool 4 stocks has shed at least 10% of its value, while Caterpillar is down 20% since I bought it. Though I bought each with the intention of holding for a year, it's been difficult not to second-guess myself, with returns like that.

But what the last couple of days has brought home to me is that no investor has a read on the immediate future. That a buy-and-hold strategy is just that -- buy and hold. And that unemotional investing should stay that way. Lesson learned, made perfect, and hopefully never lost again.

I plan on staying the course, and counsel others to invest for the long term, and not let emotions (or two days' worth of returns) cloud better judgment.