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Computerized Investing > September 2009

Beating the Market With Charles Kirkpatrick

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

The market downturn over the last year or so has been a nightmare for many investors. On one end of the spectrum are the “buy and hold” investors who saw their portfolios battered by the broad-based decline in equities. On the opposite end are those who abandoned the equity market completely after taking large losses and who are still sitting on the sidelines. For those needing their money in the next five to seven years, such a move makes perfect sense. However, those with a longer time horizon are probably kicking themselves now that the Wilshire 5000 is up over 40% since its lows of early March. Others are paralyzed by the prospects of a “double-dip” market decline.

Charles Kirkpatrick’s book, “Beat the Market: Invest by Knowing What Stocks to Buy and What Stocks to Sell” (FT Press, 2008), seems to have been written exactly with this scenario in mind. Kirkpatrick believes that the stock market is still the best investment vehicle available, but also thinks it is impossible to predict the market, or the economy. He outlines stockpicking and portfolio management strategies that he believes individual investors can follow to outperform the market while reducing the risk of capital loss.

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