Timing the market is mission impossible

An investor looks at a stock market screen at a securities company in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 20, 2015.
An investor looks at a stock market screen at a securities company in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 20, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Many investors like to think of themselves as pretty good market timers, able to consistently buy low and sell high.

Some may get lucky from time to time, but those rare successes can lead to delusional overconfidence - "I saw that crash coming!" Add to that a dollop of selective retention as to one's past successes and you end up with a recipe for false belief in one's ability to jump in and out of markets at the right times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2020, with the headline 'Timing the market is mission impossible'. Print Edition | Subscribe