My dad, who was a stock broker and had an MBA, believed in long-term, value investing. In fact, he would frequently recite to me the mantra “traders die broke” whenever the topic of day trading came up. His belief, and mine too, is that if you’re day trading, you’re just gambling. That may be some folks cup of tea. It’s not mine.
There are plenty of places online where you can read the details of the GameStop situation. More broadly, I would add this: In the short-term markets can be wildly irrational. Intrinsically, there is no way GameStop is worth more than roughly $20 a share (if that). But the value of something is whatever any two (or more) people say it is, so if people will pay hundreds per share of GameStop, so be it. But if it can go up overnight, it can fall just as fast. In the short-term no one knows which way a stock, whatever its intrinsic value, is going to go. This is why I don’t believe in day-trading.
Lana Swartz, assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, describes the subreddit’s financial spin on the kind of nihilism seen on 4chan as the idea that its users should have a “relaxed” relationship with their money. She characterized the spirit this way: “Let it come. Let it go. Because the kind of secret that the elites know is that money is. B.S., and only by knowing that money is B.S. can you accumulate a lot of it, which should be your goal.”
That ethos on WallStreetBets not only encourages risky trades, but also trading the entirety of your net worth or portfolio in a single risky trade — a financial move that would be sure to make any certified financial advisor bleed from their ears.
I get the appeal of day-trading. It’s like a lottery ticket except you think you have more control and you’ve got a crowd around you all playing the same numbers. And hurray for freedom. You do you, man.
But I’m a long-term investor for a reason, and that reason is this: In the longer term, markets are rational. Arriving at that rationality may take years, and Apple (AAPL) is a good example of that. Their stock was undervalued for years by analysts who failed to understand Apple’s unconventional business model and practices. I have greatly benefited from understanding this value, investing in Apple, and waiting for the market to catch-up.
Even now, I think the fundamentals of AAPL support a much higher valuation. So I’m writing this on a day when AAPL dropped 5.13 (3.74%) and on which I bought more. Unlike GameStop, where stores are being shuttered and business is declining, AAPL is making more money than they know what to do with. (That’s not hyperbole. Given their stated goals, they’re either going to need to buyback even more stock or significantly increase their dividend.)
Since Apple announced their record-breaking Christmas quarter results, their stock has gone down along with the broader markets. Like everyone else, I have no idea where the economy is going. But I retain confidence that if any company will weather the storm well, it will be Apple.
[Disclosure: I am a long-time investor in AAPL, and it represents a significant portion of my portfolio.]