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Investing Secrets of the Masters [Secure eReader]
eBook by Charles E. Babin & William J. Donovan

eBook Category: Personal Finance
eBook Description: Investing Secrets of the Masters will make you wealthy. Maybe not today, or even this year. But if you implement the strategies contained in this common-sense book and give them the time to mature, you will be rewarded with a sizable investment portfolio--one that stands an excellent chance of topping most managed mutual funds and major market averages.

eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2002


That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

This book is for investors, not speculators. Readers looking for tips on "day trading" or how to earn a "fast buck" in the stock market will be disappointed. Our mission is to put a new face on timeless investment practices -- classical ideas with a tradition in literature -- and to test them for relevance in today's volatile environment. Simply put, we seek to develop quantifiable, disciplined ways to create and preserve wealth through tried-and-true investment principles.

Given what's at stake, it's not surprising that investment advice abounds. It is also easy to understand why truths unearthed long ago now play second fiddle to Wall Street pundits. After all, thinkers such as Fisher, Sloan, Graham and Dodd, and Babson are unavailable to defend their views or apply them to current-day investment problems. So investors have little choice but to trust prevailing opinions. Unfortunately, high technology and multimedia communication networks notwithstanding, the course of world events often defeats modern-day observers and belies their ability to anticipate the events destined to shape stock market returns.

These days established ideas are seldom voiced; they are unwelcome when introduced and rarely followed. But smart money realizes the importance of heeding bygone practitioners. And it has good reason for doing so: These ideas have weathered the test of time.

Our study draws on the history of investment thought to develop long-term equity strategies, a subject of some import to a growing number of today's investors. But it wasn't always so. Prior to the turn of the century, substantive analysis was reserved for fixed income investments. As a class of securities, common stocks were considered "speculative." Since then, attitudes have shifted -- quite considerably.

Given the scope of our inquiry, the "masters" upon whose ideas we rely so heavily are chiefly 20th century thinkers. And, as we'll see, their ideas have an enduring quality. As Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd, patron saints of modern-day security analysis, put it 50 years ago:

It is our own underlying thesis that the principles of sound investment have not changed materially over the past half century, in spite of the tremendous and tragic events of the period and in spite of the major transformations in the economic, social and political scene.

Today, Graham and Dodd's words still ring true.

When it comes to the stock market, technical material is hard to avoid. To assist the reader, we've organized Investing Secrets of the Masters into two parts. In Part I: The Master Plans, we detail the salient features of viable investment programs. Here we discuss the pitfalls of human emotions, identify the prime determinants of stock market behavior, and provide an analytical framework for evaluating investment opportunities. In a nutshell, our early chapters are intended to establish, briefly, the underlying logic of our classical investment approach.

In Part II: The Master Plans in Action, we set out a number of strategies designed to exploit equity market returns while controlling risk. The centerpiece is our Total Return Portfolio -- a cost-efficient, disciplined way to beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average. At root the strategy is based on the turn-of-the-century Secret that dividend growth is the key to long-term performance. What's more, in Appendix E, we present the step-by-step annual procedures necessary to "rebalance" the Total Return Portfolio. Actually, this is one of the more refreshing aspects of the strategy. Once constructed, the portfolio requires minimum maintenance, resulting in lower costs and tax liabilities. And make no mistake, in the investment business especially, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Armed with our model portfolio, we address other issues of importance to investors. How to invest fresh capital into a "topsy-turvy," top-heavy stock market; diversification strategies; coping with concentrated equity positions; and identifying extreme market valuations are just some of the topics explored.

The pages that follow weren't written to be read from a recliner or while sitting at the beach with an eye on the surf. We plan to put you to work, so sharpen your pencil. Some of the material is challenging, but stick with it. If you're serious enough about investing to open this book, you're likely to find the Secrets ahead worth learning. And while the practical applications presented in Secrets are straightforward, some readers eager to embrace them may prefer to have someone else "crunch the numbers." So updated information -- including instructions for implementing and maintaining the Total Return Portfolio without ambiguity -- will be available via our Web site (www.topthedow.com).

Of course, we aren't the first to explore this territory in pursuit of opportunity. The seminal work, at least to our knowledge, was contributed by Laurence Sloan, whose survey of the field and thoughtful insights frame the guidelines treasured by today's investor. Not surprisingly, from time to time our charted course intersects with Sloan's well-marked trail. While our product differs, we possess a commonality of purpose:

[T]he objective of all this ado will be to emerge, enfin, with a body of definite conclusions which it is hoped may be of aid to those who are seeking to formulate and carry out a conservative long term common stock investment program.

Charles E. Babin, William J. Donovan
Boston, Massachusetts
September, 1999

Copyright © 2000 by Charles E. Babin & William J. Donovan

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