Tag Archives: Herd Behavior

Game Theory, Behavioral Finance, and Investing: Part 5 of 5

In the first four parts of this article, I have discussed a number of well-known behavioral biases that cause investors to make decisions that are, to put it kindly, less than optimal.  In this final installment, I summarize how best to avoid these costly traps.

As these blog posts have been published over the past couple of weeks, the issues are much in evidence.  Apple (AAPL), long the darling of the market, has lost favor and Groupon (GRPN) seems to be following a relentless downward spiral.  Surely many investors in Groupon must be asking themselves how they could possibly have seen the company as a good bet.  Apple stock, which was trading at $700 in mid-September, is currently at $544, a decline of 22% in two months.  The news that has come out on Apple does not seem sufficient to justify such a broad shift in the market’s consensus as to the long-term value of Apple as a company.  And, of course, we have the poster child of behavioral bias: Facebook (FB).  How is it possible that the market’s consensus view of the share value of such a widely held company could be almost 50% below its first day closing price of $38?  As Warren Buffett is quoted as saying, in the short-term the market is a voting machine and in the long-term the market is a weighing machine.  When voting overwhelms weighing, investor psychology is dominating.

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Game Theory, Behavioral Finance, and Investing: Part 4 of 5

In earlier installments of this article, I have discussed some behavioral biases that tend to influence people to make bad investing decisions.  In this post, I explore several more of these biases.  The focus of this piece is on how we perceive ourselves and our ability to make independent decisions.  One of the key ideas within rational markets is that people gather public information and make informed decisions.  Without rational market participants, it is unlikely that markets themselves will converge to appropriate prices for traded assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.).  Continue reading

Carl Richards, Terrance Odean and Emotional Markets

Carl Richards, a financial planner and blogger for the New York Times and at Behaviorgap.com illustrates the connection between the markets and emotion in a recent post. Continue reading