Anyone who got the investing itch in the ’80s or ’90s followed Peter Lynch at some point. He was the last star mutual fund manager — who left the game early and for the right reasons. Lynch played at a higher level than everyone else.
One of the best examples of this, that I’ve come across, was in the 1988 Baron’s Roundtable discussion. Ten fund managers gathered in the same room to start the year. You might recognize a few — Mario Gabelli, Paul Tudor Jones, John Neff, Michael Price, Jim Rogers, and, of course, Peter Lynch.
It’s three months after the ’87 crash. They’re jittery. They argue about what’s next for the economy, oil prices, interest rates, inflation, trade deficit, and the stock market. Six hours of “what if there’s a recession or another crash?” Basically, the crap you hear on CNBC every day.
And then there’s Lynch — I picture him sitting quietly, smirking. Finally, he interrupts:
There’s always something to worry about. But it’s garbage to worry about these things… You have to look at corporate profits, and see what’s going on in the companies. It’s total garbage to worry about the things that’s going to drive us to a 300 Dow. It’ll be something you couldn’t imagine if you picked the brightest or dumbest people in the world and assembled them for hours.
Lynch took a shot at the Roundtable itself and made his point. There’s always something to worry about in investing. But it’s a waste of time and energy because we won’t predict it correctly. Continue Reading…