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Contrarian Investment Strategies - The Classic Edition Hardcover – May 18, 1998
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All stock-market investors embrace the motto "Buy low, sell high." Few act accordingly, however, for to do so would require that we go against the crowd, buying stocks that are out of favor and selling Wall Street's darlings. Powerful psychological forces prevent us from pursuing a contrarian investment strategy, although it consistently beats the market, according to David Dreman, a seasoned money manager and long-time columnist for Forbes magazine. One of the Street's best-known and most articulate contrarians, Dreman has updated his 1982 investment classic, Contrarian Investment Strategies, using recent research on investor psychology. His revised book combines proven techniques for selecting undervalued stocks with fresh insights on how to defy, and thereby profit from, the popular fears or enthusiasms of the moment.
Dreman pays only cursory attention to a company's business fundamentals in deciding whether to invest in it. Instead he looks for stocks trading at below-market multiples of per-share earnings, cash flow, book value, or dividend yield. Historically, Dreman claims, stocks that are cheap by any of these measures have tended to outperform the market average, although this is disputed by those who believe the stock market is efficient and therefore impossible to beat except by accident. Dreman devotes many pages to debunking their research. He offers a new refinement of his low-price strategy, which involves picking the cheapest stocks within industries, to create a diversified, contrarian portfolio.
Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Next Generation is full of practical and provocative advice, but some of its most interesting passages delve into the abstruse findings of cognitive psychology. This research has proven that we are woefully inadequate as intuitive statisticians. Interpreting data to make predictions about the probability of future events, we consistently make the same mistakes. For example, we exaggerate the likelihood that current trends will continue, even when they are historically exceptional. (Logic dictates that trends are more likely to regress toward the mean.) This fallacy explains why most Wall Street insiders were gloomiest about stocks in 1981, after six years of falling prices, just before the beginning of the greatest bull market ever. Is today's widespread optimism among investors a reason for caution? Dreman thinks so.
It seems our brains are hard-wired to underperform the market. That's why few investors can keep to a contrarian approach. Dreman recommends buying stocks when prices fall, the worse the panic the better. But that requires overriding powerful instincts.
Besides reflecting Dreman's wide reading in finance, psychology, and history, his book also displays his sometimes windy and self-important writing style. At 464 pages, the book is not a quick read. But its intellectual depth and thoroughly tested advice make many other investment books look paltry and superficial by comparison. Serious, independent investors will find it rewarding. --Barry Mitzman
From Library Journal
Manager of the Kemper-Dreman High Return Fund and chair and CEO of Dreman Value Management, Dreman analyzes contrarian investment strategies for the 1990s and into the 21st century, defining contrarian investment as involving buying and selling securities by going against the crowd and prevailing investor opinions. He emphasizes the importance of investor psychology, which he terms "the necessary link required to activate the contrarian strategies we will now examine." Additionally, Dreman describes investor overreaction as a response to events in a predictable fashion: investors "consistently overvalue the prospects of `best' investments and undervalue those of the `worst.'" He presents and discusses 41 contrarian investment rules involving such factors as stock performance, political and financial crises, volatility, and analysts' forecasts. Especially interesting are the specific case studies involving the effect on the securities markets of major crises such as the 1987 stock market "crash" and the Gulf War. Highly recommended for business collections in both public and academic libraries.?Lucy T. Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica,
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I have read it at least four times over the years and referenced back to it more than that. I will say that not all periods of time are best to be in the stock market. More recently precious metals have been better and that is where I have been instead of stocks. At some point it will be time to switch and be back in stocks and at that time I again will use what David Dreman promotes, buying undervalued out of favor stocks and holding them till they are more dearly valued. Has it worked for me? My 20 years of investing has allowed me to retire at 55 if that is any indication and I have already said that this book has been the most influential of any I have read, so yes, value investing has worked for me. I do not always invest in stocks, but when I do, they are value stocks based on what he teaches. The results have been favorable.
Investing is an art rather than a science. Dreman gives one the information needed to help perfect the art of value investing. It is not a paint by numbers book or something that will guarantee success, but good fundamental education and a way of looking at investing. Everyone likes to buy things when they are on sale......except in the stock market where they seem to prefer to pay top price. I like to buy stocks when they are on sale. That is what contrarian investing is all about.
There are periods of time when the stock market is not the best investment vehicle to be in. When it is the best place to be, the ideas in this book work, as long as a person has the mental discipline to allow them to work.
Then comes this book. Chapter by chapter, Dreman dissects efficient market arguments that I saw as fact and showed that they were folly. Dreman states that the market is not efficient because investors are many times not rational. In fact, they are predictably irrational. And then Dreman gives data to prove this. He presents research to show that investing in a certain way allows you to beat the market.
And he gives more research and data. And more, and more. Some people will complain that this is boring and overwhelming, but he does so to prove the validity of his methods. I've read many investment books, and usually an author will give his guidelines for picking stocks, with return numbers taken at a certain point in time, and holding stocks for a certain period, and maybe a few other stipulations. And in the end, I never trusted the author enough to invest any real money in his strategy.
Not so with Dreman. The wealth of research convinced me that Dremans methods were not datamining and were not limited to certain market environments.
Its the most imporant investing book I have read. Dremans method is very similiar to value investing preached by a number of other famous investors. The difference is that Dreman proves to you through his research that value investing works. Everybody addicted to Mad Money and Jim Cramer needs to give this book a peek.