Four Reasons NOT to Buy the World’s Greatest Stocks
From Dan Ferris, editor, Extreme Value:
The Crux: Dan, for the past few years, you’ve been practically begging your readers to take advantage of the rare opportunity in your exclusive World-Dominating Dividend Grower (WDDG) stocks. Those who did have already seen incredible returns.
But we know many readers still haven’t taken your advice. So today, we were hoping you could address some of the most common reasons we hear from readers for not buying these stocks.
Probably the most common objection we hear is, “WDDGs are boring.” And to be fair, companies like Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson aren’t very exciting… They’ve been around for decades and decades, and they rarely make big moves up or down.
What would you say to those readers?
Dan Ferris: “Boring” is good for investors. I mean… think of what excitement really is. Excitement usually means risk and trouble.
Why are Indiana Jones movies exciting? Because he’s always taking big risks and getting into trouble.
Does that sound like a model for an investor to follow? No… Investors want the opposite of that. They want to avoid risk and trouble.
WDDG stocks reduce risk and trouble. They’re so boring that all they do is make money, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
Investing is supposed to be boring. It’s not supposed to involve the possibility of not making money. And WDDG businesses always make money.
So yeah, it’s true. WDDGs are really boring… But that’s just another way of saying they’re a better strategy than anyone reading this will ever come up with.
Crux: The second common concern we hear is, “WDDGs are too big.” In other words, because these companies have already seen incredible growth, their future growth will be limited.
Ferris: This is a common misconception. They were saying it about Wal-Mart when it was doing $100 billion per year in sales. Now, it does about $460 billion per year.
We don’t expect a company like Wal-Mart to double in value in a year. But its profits have doubled in the last 10 years. That’s fast enough to raise the dividend, buy back lots of stock with the profits, and create a good return for shareholders.
But really, the size of a company—measured by things like market capitalization or sales—is less important than its ability to invest capital at high rates. All the WDDGs earn fat, double-digit returns on the capital they retain and reinvest.
Almost no business can reinvest 100% of its earnings at high rates. But that’s okay. The WDDGs reinvest what they can, and pay out the rest in dividends and share repurchases. That’s about the best you can hope for in any stock investment.
Crux: The next complaint we hear is, “WDDGs are too mainstream.” Most of these companies are name brands. Wall Street analysts cover them closely, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an investor who hasn’t heard of them. So, many assume there’s no advantage there for the individual investor. Is that true?
Ferris: For this to be true, human beings would need to have perfect behavior in the stock market, always buying at the bottom and selling at the top.
But of course, if they had perfect behavior, there wouldn’t be any tops or bottoms in the first place. That’s true for the entire market, and it’s true for every stock in it.
Wall Street analysts covering anything closely doesn’t mean much. The idea that you’re going to find some little-known stock that’s not well-covered is romantic, but it’s much, much rarer than the average hedge fund manager or newsletter writer would have you believe.
It’s not Olympic figure skating or gymnastics. There are no points for novelty in the market. You either make money, or you lose it. And most people will lose it because they believe in novel stories about exciting little companies, instead of just trying to figure out how to make money.
It’s really easy to get an advantage over other investors by just buying WDDGs when they’re cheap enough, reinvesting your dividends, and not selling in a panic every time the market falls 10% or 20%.
Human nature will never change, and that will always create opportunities to buy wonderful businesses at cheap prices. They might not come around often, but they definitely come around.
Crux: Finally, we often hear an objection that goes something like this: “WDDGs are fine for wealthy investors or retirees, but I’m willing to take on more risk to make big returns now.” What would you say to those investors?
Ferris: Taking more risk does not result in making higher returns. It results in making lower returns most of the time. If that weren’t true… the risk wouldn’t be higher. It’d be lower.
This is one of the great myths Wall Street and academia want you to believe. But it’s completely backward.
You’ll generally do better in stocks by taking the least risk possible. That means buying WDDGs when they’re cheap enough, reinvesting the dividends, and holding on for many years.
Most people will not be able to outperform that strategy, no matter what you read in any newsletter, Wall Street research report, or finance book.
This is just another reason I know my subscribers will always do better than the average investor. As long as people believe silly notions like “higher risk = higher returns,” WDDGs will outperform.
Given what we observed about human nature never changing, it’ll be a long, long, long time before this happens… and I’d bet it never happens.
Crux: That’s a great point… Any parting thoughts for readers who are still “on the fence”?
Ferris: If you really believe there’s a better investment strategy than owning the very best businesses in the world, I encourage you to prove it to yourself by putting half your money in WDDGs, and swinging for the fences by taking on more risk with the other half.
It’s highly unlikely anyone reading these words will outperform the WDDG half of his portfolio. In fact, nine times out of 10, the other half will become a disaster.
So, don’t take my word for it. Prove it to yourself.
I’m willing to bet, too, most people will realize the stock market is an unforgiving, unaccommodating place for 99.9% of all humans. So, it’s best to pursue the most conservative approach… and most people won’t even do that right. They’ll sell in a panic if the market drops in half.
That’s why we use trailing stops. We don’t want everyone getting killed and not having any capital when stocks get super cheap, as they do probably once per decade.
Crux: Thanks for talking with us, Dan.
Ferris: You’re welcome.
Reeves’ Note: Most financial analysts either don’t know—or won’t tell you—their best recommendation… but today, Dan is sharing the single best opportunity he has ever come across. He says if he had to pick just one stock to put all his money in, this would be it. Click here to learn what it is.