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A Gambler Psychology on Wall Street

Your odds on the Wall Street casino get longer the shorter your time horizon becomes. I joke that Charles Schwab (SCHW) is my "bookie," and that when I like a horse I call my bookie on the Internet machine to place a bet.

The "vig" isn't bad, under $10 per trade, but that's not the whole story. The rest of the story are the short-term moves taken out by the professionals in programmed trading, and the slightly longer moves taken out by other gamblers in momentum trades. Add in those costs and you're better off at the blackjack tables.

The longer your time horizon, the more all that washes away and becomes irrelevant. The shorter your time horizon, the more you're gambling rather than investing and the worse you're going to do. Over time, you'll do about as well as everyone else.

I hope this column doesn't lead you to a preference for the sports pages, because there are always good opportunities out there and I'm always on the lookout for them. You should be, too.

But that's the reality of today's market when great companies like Apple are trashed and speculative ones like Netflix are raised on high.

If you want to make money on the stock market, buy good companies at reasonable multiples, hold them and ignore the noise. However, if you want to play, you can play, and the Street -- like Las Vegas -- will be happy to take your money.



At the time of publication the author had positions in AAPL and SCHW.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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