Watching CNBC yesterday, I heard one of the guests say, "Market bottoms don't happen in the middle of the week." This type of market-timing proclamation never fails to give me a chuckle, even in times like these. And yet, while it's exactly the kind of stock market "insight" that none of us should care about, it’s got a great many people currently pulling out their hair.
Strangely enough, it was CNBC that also brought us Berkshire Hathaway's
I'm going with Warren
When it comes to the stock market, as with so many other things, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Back in 2000, a lot of investors were convinced that the paradigm had changed because of the Internet, but they were eventually treated to a painful lesson that it had not. Today, many investors are suffering from what some have termed "irrational pessimism" and project drastic changes for the worse well out into the future. It's likely they will be proven wrong as well.
As modern investors, we have some things our predecessors did not: up-to-the-second stock at our fingertips, more innovative ways to try and calculate risk, and derivatives of derivatives that can make you scratch your head as to what you're actually betting on. However, in a sense, none of that really matters -- the same investing strategy that has worked for decades can still work. Specifically, that's buying high-quality businesses at reasonable prices.
But where do we find these gems? Since we're following Buffett's philosophy, we might as well start with the holdings at Berkshire Hathaway. Not surprisingly, most of the stocks that Berkshire holds are businesses that we can reliably say customers will be using five, 10, or even 20 years down the road. These are companies like Coca-Cola
While it doesn't have Mr. Buffett’s multi-decade track record (yet!), The Motley Fool's CAPS service can certainly claim a breadth of opinions – currently, more than 130,000 members are sharing thoughts on over 5,300 stocks. Using a rating system from one star (the lowest) to five (the highest), this is another good hunting ground for finding some of the highest-quality companies out there. J&J, P&G, and Berkshire are all currently five-star stocks on CAPS (Coke is almost there, but is only four stars right now). And they are joined by a host of other companies well worth a hard look, including Altria
I’m a realist. I know it’s not likely that market experts will give up on trying to figure out the best day for a market bottom, or what to do when Japanese candlesticks show a frypan bottom (another phrase I actually heard uttered). But I still think most investors will do best spending their time trying to find the best businesses out there.
Further financial Foolishness:
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, and 3M are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble and Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool’s disclosure policy has never once been caught with its pants down. Of course, it doesn't actually wear pants …