Friday, November 7, 2008

Falling Stocks and Time for Change

Finally, we have Barack Obama firmly ensconced in the White House but in the last two days, the Dow Jones has fallen a good 900 points. There are still fears about the economy and they refuse to go away. After electing Barack Obama and after ecstatic crowds in New York, which I saw on the channels, it is time for the economy. General Motors has fallen again. It keeps on making multi-year lows. The last low that it made for perhaps a 53 year low. So, is the company going to fold up? If that is the case, then the low prices of the company's stock could well nigh be justified. Else, it would simply be the case of oversold and over-afraid stock markets.

There was a wonderful article that I read by Warren Buffett. It was published in the New York Times as an op-ed article and it was titled, "Buy American. I am." I found the title very interesting. It was a very insightful piece which made out a case for buying into the stock markets. I remember a very interesting line from that article. He said that we have an opportunity today to buy a slice of America at a marked-down price. I thought it was put pretty well.

Yes, there is a lot of bad news on the financial front. We are in the midst of a global recession. This is pretty much clear to everyone. So what? We had the Great Depression in 1929 but by 1932, the stocks had gained by 30% and much later, they had gained phenomenally. So, didn't the Great Depression too go away within a life time? It did.

Let us look at the bad news. There is bleak US job data. There are profit warnings from GM and Cisco. UK is in a recession. Some nations are close to defaults and need IMF protection. But the prices at which some well-known companies are available today both in the US and in other markets is mind boggling. The low stock prices make you feel as if these companies were going to fold up and close shop. But I don't think anything like this is going to happen in either the short or the long term. This is mere emotion.

I would like to give you a very interesting fact. If you look at US markets, there is a company called Kraft Foods. They make cheese, biscuits and other products. Last year, Warren Buffett paid a price to buy Kraft Foods stock. However, today, the price at which the Kraft Foods stock is available is lower than the price that Buffett himself paid. So, it either means that the stock markets and various investors have stopped trusting Warren Buffett's investing instincts or else the price is abysmally low.

These are oversold markets. The only problem with falling markets is that it demands a great deal of courage to go out and buy when everyone else is selling and the markets are falling every day. And then when any blue chip stock you see falls just about every day, you aren't sure about the stock you would like to go out and buy. However, times are these are great for famous investors. If you really want to make a pot of money, the proverbial pot of gold, this is the best time to go out and buy into blue chips slowly. There is no need to put all your money into stocks at one go because no one can really time the markets but it indeed a great time to invest gradually.

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