Stop Trading

Investors might forget we’re in a bear market because investing this year has looked easy. Those who have missed out on the rally must be tearing their hair out. Their money burns a hole in their pockets.

In fact, the evidence is that most investors have the attention span and patience of a field mouse. Here’s the average holding period for a stock on the New York Stock Exchange:


What jumps out at you right away is that the average holding period is less than a year. That means that, on average, an “investor” typically holds an NYSE stock for a matter of months. This is not investing, which is why I put the term in quotes. I don’t know what it is. Mindless gambling comes to mind.

It’s no surprise that the last time we were down here was in the Roaring Twenties. We all know what that was the opening act for.

This chart also speaks to a larger problem in the markets today — there are too few owners and too many renters. Just as in real estate, owners generally take better care of a property than renters. Why should it be different with companies?