Time benefits strong companies. Over time they increase earnings and shareholder equity, which eventually the stock market will reward by increasing their stock prices. Underlying business operations in relation to stock price determine whether to buy, hold or sell a stock. If operations remain strong, the decision to sell is rare.
Investors ought to eschew any form of short-term methodology for superior returns, even a methodology courting value-investor sensibilities (i.e., “buy big on price crashes,” “concentrate in only a few companies”). Slow, steady, and piecemeal wins the race – this approach avoids the confusion, regret and tragedy resulting from big, bold and risky actions.*
* “Immo ut quid hac pugna [Cannae] sit actum scias,” inquit Maharbal “die quinto victor in Capitolio epulaberis. Sequere me! Cum equite ut [Romani] prius venisse quam venturum sciant!” . . .
“Respexit [Hannibal] saepe Italiae litora – et deos hominesque accusans in se quoque ac suum ipsius caput exsecratus est – quod non cruentos ab Cannensi victoria milites Romam duxisset.”
“Surely you must know – said Maharbal [Hannibal’s cavalry commander] – by this battle [at Cannae, 216 B.C.] what you’ve done. Five days from now you will dine as victor in the Roman capitol. Follow me Hannibal! I will lead with cavalry so that you will have arrived before the Romans know you’re coming!”
(Hannibal never marches on Rome; Quintus Fabius, the slow and steady dictator, steers Rome to safety, and victory.)
203 B.C., sailing back home to Carthage, “[Hannibal] looked back often at the Italian shoreline – he uttered curses on the gods, on men, and even on his own head – because he had not marched his own solders, covered in gore, from their victoria at Cannae to Rome.”