Michel Pireu Columnist

“Nothing is more difficult,” said Gerald M Loeb, “than consistently and fairly profiting in Wall Street. I know of nothing harder to learn. Schools and textbooks can only supply a good theoretical background. Knowledge born from actual experience is the answer to why one profits; lack of it is the reason one loses. Knowledge means information and the ability to interpret it marketwise. But, in addition, making money in the market demands a lot of ‘genius’ or ‘flair’. No amount of study or practice can make one successful in the handling of capital if one really is not cut out for it.”

Most seasoned investors would probably agree. So what is it that makes stock-picking so difficult? After all, it was none other than Warren Buffett who said: “We like things that you don’t have to carry out to three decimal places. If you have to carry them out to three decimal places, they’re not good ideas … stock-picking isn’t gymnastics. There are no extra points for degree of difficulty.”

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