Topic: Growth Stocks

You will likely lose money with many aggressive investment options

Here’s a look at the ins and outs of aggressive investment options

Some investors like to get into fast-growing aggressive investment options at what they describe as “the ground floor.” They think the best way to profit in stocks is to buy them when they are just barely starting out on a growth phase that can last for years if not decades. Ideally, they want to buy the future top performers when they are still near or close to the penny stock range and have yet to be discovered by the broad mass of investors.

These investors rarely find what they’re looking for. That’s because there’s a large random element in investing, especially at the ground floor. Many promising junior stocks fail to thrive as businesses for one or more of any number of reasons. To borrow from the opening lines of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, successful stocks tend to have a lot in common, whereas unsuccessful stocks tend to suffer from their own unique sets of risks and faults.

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Think before choosing aggressive investment options that compete with well-established businesses

Sometimes stocks with intriguing business concepts just don’t go anywhere. They generate a number of encouraging news releases, but these releases turn out to be a series of exaggerations and broken promises.

Promising stocks may start out with a brilliant idea or a plan to get involved in a high-profile or fast-growing business area. They may enjoy an initial burst of sales or even earnings. But many just can’t keep up the momentum. They never reach the critical mass they need to achieve consistent profitability.

This is more common in junior techs, because they compete with well-established, well-financed senior techs with big research budgets. The seniors have an enormous advantage in well-trained staff, sales networks, media contacts and all sorts of other business assets that can take years, if not decades, to develop.

Keep aggressive investment options to a smaller part of your portfolio

Our Successful Investor stock selections for aggressive investors tend to be more highly leveraged and more volatile than our conservative recommendations. That means they have the potential to give you bigger gains and bigger losses. This may be due to financial leverage, or to the risk in their industry or particular situation, or our estimation of upcoming changes in that risk. Keep in mind that these or any aggressive investments should make up only part of most Successful Investor portfolios.

If you want to diversify your portfolio with aggressive stocks, first you must understand the chances you’ll take. They’re only suitable for investors who can accept substantial risk. You can be wrong on any of your stock picks, of course. But when you’re wrong on a speculative stock, losses are likely to be larger than with a well-established company.

Zeroing in on a handful of small to medium sized companies can pay off nicely when it works, but it can be extremely costly when you pick too few winners and/or too many duds.

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid aggressive stocks altogether. Instead, we recommend limiting your aggressive holdings to a small part of your overall Successful Investor portfolio. This is because aggressive stocks expose you to a greater risk of loss.

Look for hidden assets to cut risk with aggressive investment options

A further key factor we look for in our aggressive investments is hidden assets. By hidden assets, we mean assets that are getting less investor attention than they deserve. When assets are wholly or partly hidden or ignored, a stock can trade for less than it’s worth. So buyers get a bargain. These stocks are also more likely to attract takeover bids from corporate acquirers, who are usually looking to buy asset bargains, just like us.

For example hidden assets can include real estate. When a company buys real estate, the purchase price goes on its balance sheet as the historical value of the asset. Over a period of years or decades, the market value of that real estate may climb substantially. But the historical purchase price remains unchanged on the balance sheet. At times, the hidden assets in a company’s real estate can even come to exceed the market value of its stock.

Some assets stay hidden indefinitely. But most of the aggressive investments we recommend have other pluses as well that give them above-average value—rising sales, good balance sheets and a strong hold on a growing market.

How high is your risk tolerance as an investor?


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