Seth Klarman: Easier said than done

“While investors will obviously achieve the best results by remaining rational thinkers at all times, this is easier said than done. In the financial markets, emotion often takes over, and greed and fear come to dominate investor behavior. Even those who are aware of this, who expect always to invest rationally and to be able to resist their own greedy temptations and panicky reactions, cannot always carry through on their plans.”

—Seth Klarman.

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Seth Klarman: Sentiment

“Students of financial history can point to historic levels of valuation to suggest that we are in a bubble. But students of psychology may be needed to complete the picture. For one thing, the financial markets have been so strong for so long that fear of market risk has mostly evaporated. People who used to hold bank certificates of deposit now maintain a portfolio of growth stocks. It is not really within human nature to comprehend that you may not know everything you think you know, and, further, that what you believe in could change on a dime…. With more and more of the market value of U.S. equities represented by lofty (in some cases infinite) multiples of current results, a change in sentiment could wipe out a large percentage of investor net worth. Sentiment, existing only in the minds of investors, is subject to change quickly and without notice.”

—Seth Klarman (June 1999).