2 … Understanding Market Efficiency (and Its Limitations)

In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. -Yogi Berra

  • idiosyncratic: relating to idiosyncrasy; peculiar or individual: To beat the market you must hold an idiosyncratic, or nonconsensus, view.
  • buttressed: a structure of stone or brick built against a wall to strengthen or support it. it was buttressed by studies of the performance of mutual funds.
  • adherents: someone who supports a particular party, person, or set of ideas: he was a strong adherent of monetarism. So the efficient market hypothesis got off to a fast start in the 1960s and developed a lot of adherents.
  • halcyon: denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful
  • lull: calm or send to sleep, typically with soothing sounds or movements: Those halcyon periods lull people into believing that to get higher returns, all they have to do is make riskier investments.

Second-level thinkers know that, to achieve superior results, they have to have an edge in either information or analysis, or both. They are on the alert for instances of misperception. My son Andrew is a budding investor, and he comes up with … His first test is always the same:” And who doesn’t know that?”

  • budding: (of a plant) having or developing buds
 One of the great sayings about poker is that “in every game there’s a fish. If you’ve played for 45 minutes and haven’t figured out who the fish is, then it’s you.”
efficiency is what lawyers call a “rebuttable presumption”—
because the notion of market efficiency has relevance, I should limit my efforts to relatively inefficient markets where hard work and skill would pay off best.
“Isn’t that a $10 bill lying on the ground?” asks the student. “No, it can’t be a $10 bill,” answers the professor. “If it were, someone would have picked it up by now.” The professor walks away, and the student picks it up and has a beer. –WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALPHA? July 11, 2001