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The question of when to sell is perhaps the most overlooked and underappreciated problem in finance. It's worth bringing this up now as markets keep rising. It's clearly on the mind of more than one investor. For most of history, Wall Street has been much more concerned with getting you to buy, thus generating returns for you and business for itself. Whether it is an individual stock or bond, mutual fund or commodity, the sell question gets short shrift.A quick review of the literature shows a dearth of advice on selling. Other than Justin Mamis’s “When to Sell: Inside Strategies for Stock-Market Profits,” there are not a lot of well-regarded books on the subject. There are books on short-selling, as well as tomes on timing the markets. Every technical analysis or book on market cycles contains sections on breakdowns and sell signals. However, what we refer to here is the broad-based process of how and when to reduce the equity exposure of any portfolio. It seems like it should be a...

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