Time Is Luck but Timing is Not Lucky.

Timing is a critical component of investment performance. For purposes of this blog post, we are speaking about timing in connection with an investment in a publicly traded security or asset, e.g. metals, other commodities, etc.; not broad financial market timing. Timing determines your entry and exit of a position. It has a significant impact upon the return risk profile of such investment. It affects considerations of entry and exist, cost basis, position size, single entry or exit or scaling of the position. It requires scenario analysis of buying or selling before or after earnings, or an economic report, SEC filings, transcripts, conference calls, public presentations, a pending financing announced with an indeterminate instrument type, date of transaction, pricing and terms. Fundamental and Technical analysis should be considered and affect prudent timing. Is the Company in need of capital within the next several quarters? Will a 232 Petition with the government seeking commodity purchasing domestically be outweighed by a tariff war or a strong dollar? How will dilution be affected if a financing is completed and what will that do to valuation? Did management make the right decision? Diligence necessitates assessing the behavior of the security and valuations of the security historically, relative to its current valuation and its comparables and historic and current market multiples. Even regulatory and geopolitical issues should be weighed. Should I enter or exit the position today, though not when planned, due to other considerations, in order to capitalize on panic or euphoria? There are countless factors that must be analyzed that can/might influence or affect, timing of an investment (long or short), for entry and exit. Enter a position (long or short) too early and you are sitting on “dead money,” when the capital could be deployed more efficiently in search of superior returns for the portfolio; or taking too much risk. Enter too late (long or short) and your return risk profile is not as compelling or not compelling at all, because the price paid is too high or too low (for a short position-don’t get whipsawed); and again the risk is too high. Timing can even determine whether a position is a trade (short term) or an investment (medium to long term). For a fund, timing is more critical than for a personal account. The fund must seek to deliver returns that are consistent, minimize drawdowns and maximize alpha (the component of investment returns in excess of the performance of broad markets). For a fund to achieve superior investment returns, timing is critical. In contrast, for a personal investment account, excessive volatility and periods of flat performance are acceptable to the extent the investor chooses to tolerate such and therefore timing is not necessarily as critical; assuming the portfolio is held for many years. There is little [read-zero] luck in investment performance. Because timing of investments is so critical, a proverb comes to mind: “Time is luck.” Time is luck, but timing is not lucky; nor is investment performance.

David N. Baker

By |2018-07-20T18:42:33+00:00July 20th, 2018|blog|0 Comments