It's unlikely that you'll spot many dog-eared copies of A Random Walk
floating amongst the Wall Street set (although bookshelves at home may prove otherwise). After all, a "random walk"--in market terms--suggests that a "blindfolded monkey" would have as much luck selecting a portfolio as a pro. But Burton Malkiel's classic investment book is anything but random. Since stock prices cannot be predicted in the short term, argues Malkiel, individual investors are better off buying and holding onto index funds than meddling with securities or actively managing mutual funds. Not only will a broad range of index funds outperform a professionally managed portfolio in the long run, but investors can avoid expense charges and trading costs, which decrease returns.
First published in 1973, this seventh printing of a A Random Walk looks forward and does so broadly, examining a new range of investment choices facing the turn-of-the-century investor: money-market accounts, tax-exempt funds, Roth IRAs, and equity REITs, as well as the potential benefits and pitfalls of the emerging global economy. In his updated "life-cycle guide to investing," Malkiel offers age-related investment strategies that consider one's capacity for risk. (A 30-year-old who can depend on wages to offset investment losses has a different risk capacity from a 60-year-old.) In his assessment of rocketing Internet stocks, Malkiel defends his "random" position well, explaining how "the market eventually corrects any irrationality--albeit in its own slow, inexorable fashion. Anomalies can crop up, markets can get irrationally optimistic, and often they attract unwary investors. But eventually, true value is recognized by the market, and this is the main lesson investors must heed." Written for the financial layperson but bolstered by 30 years of research, A Random Walk will help individual investors take charge of their financial future. Recommended. --Rob McDonald
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The eternal truth of this updated investment classic, originally published in 1973, is simple: you can't beat the market. Well, technically, you can beat the market, but not profitably, because the transaction costs of your brilliant trading will eat up the extra returns. You can also beat the market by pure luck-but you can't deliberately beat the market, because you can't predict future stock prices. You can't predict them by divining Wall Street's crowd psychology; or by charting trends in stock prices; or by doing lots of research on companies' business prospects. You can't predict them from hemlines (though there's been "some evidence" for correlation between skirt length and market prices in the past, Malkiel poo-poos future possibilities) or Super Bowl winners (this, he says, makes "no sense"). In fact, according to the efficient market theory, which states that all knowable information about a stock's value is already reflected in its share price, you can't predict them at all. Malkiel, a Princeton economist and professional investor, backs it all up with statistics, charts and studies, and gives an entertaining review of the sorry history of market bubbles, panics and delusions of omniscience, from the Dutch tulip craze to the Beardstown Ladies. This edition looks at new wrinkles (it seems you can't beat the market by buying companies with ".com" in the name), and provides a lucid overview of novel investment vehicles. Standing by his notorious claim that "a blindfolded chimpanzee throwing darts" at the NYSE listings could pick stocks as well as the Wall Street pros, Malkiel advises investors to "buy and hold" a diversified portfolio heavy on index funds that passively mirror the market, which usually out-perform actively managed funds. His witty, acerbic style and persuasive arguments will delight readers but, alas, leave Wall Street unmoved.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the