Stop Picking Stocks—Immediately! by Henry Blodget. I don’t agree totally with his conclusion but the article is a good read. Definitely the kind of information investors need to know. I do agree that most of the time for 90%+ of the population stock picking doesn’t turn out to be the best financial move. Three counterpoints for why it can make sense: 1) tax smart investing (for buy and hold) 2) investor education (if you pay more attention by buying some individual stocks as part of an entire investment strategy) 3) the Peter Lynch buy what you know small cap strategy (buying companies that you understand better than “wall street” – as a part of an investment portfolio). From the article:
The problem for investors is that even though stock-picking usually hurts returns, it’s extremely interesting and fun. If you are ever to wean yourself of this bad habit, therefore, the first step is to understand why it’s so rarely successful. The short answer is that the overall market provides most investment returns, not particular stock picks, so most stock pickers get credit for gains that came merely from being invested in stocks generally. Second, competition among stock pickers is so intense that it is extraordinarily difficult for any one competitor to get a consistent edge.
Related: Curious Cat Investment Bookstore including: The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham with forward by Warren Buffett and Security Analysis by Graham and Dodd