Study Finds that Stock Picking Probably Won't Make Investors Rich

While some stock pickers can successful, investors should keep in mind that the odds are against them, according to a recent article inThe New York Times.

“It’s not just that bull markets like this one eventually come to an end,” the article says, “It’s that over the long run, while the total stock market has prospered, most individual stocks have not.” It offers findings from finance professor Hendrik Bessembinder (of Arizona State University) showing that, “A very small percentage of winning stocks have done splendidly, but when gains and losses are tallied up over their lifetimes, most stocks haven’t earned any money at all.” Further, the study found that over half of individual stocks since 1926 have failed to outperform one-month Treasury bills.

According to the article, Bessembinder favors low-cost index fund investing for his personal assets through a diversified portfolio of bonds and stocks. While he believes that some “who pick the right stocks can have lottery-like returns,” his study findings suggest that “most people picking stocks are unlikely to do well for very long.”