Adam Smith: Somebody ‘Must’ Know Something We Don’t

Johnny HopkinsAdam SmithLeave a Comment

In Adam Smith’s book The Money Game, there’s a great piece in which he discusses the ‘logic’ of the market. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Logic, to an outsider, would say that you have a company selling at 10 and you go and do a lot of research on it and figure out the sales and the profits and you figure if they can earn one dollar it will sell at 20. So you buy it and wait and the story gets that they earn the one dollar and it goes to 20.

But the market does not follow logic, it follows some mysterious tides of mass psychology. Thus earnings projections get marked up and down as the prices go up and down, just because Wall Streeters hate the insecurity of anarchy. If the stock is going down, the earnings must be falling apart. If it is going up, the earnings must be better than we thought. Somebody must know something we don’t know.

With all the analysts and all the research and all the statistics and all the computers, it is still possible to be 51 percent wrong, and you can do better than that by flipping a coin.

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