Scott Rothbort is answering questions on Stockpickr Answers today. Ask away!MILLBURN, N.J. ( Stockpickr) -- Did you ever experience that feeling of puppy love? Perhaps you had a high school crush. Your high expectations were likely fleeting and unsatisfied. Old Brooklyn Dodgers fans were similarly disappointed every October when Dem Bums could not bring home a championship. The same thing happens in the investment world. We place wide-eyed hope on a stock only to repeatedly be met with disappointment. What causes this phenomenon? How can we identify companies which are bound to break our hearts? It Will Come Back The most detrimental drag on one's portfolio is emotional attachment to an individual stock. Emotional attachment can form, say, if the stock is an inheritance from a loved one, if the shareholder has made money in the past from the stock, or from a positive memory of using the company's product or service. Regardless of the reason for the attachment, it will often lead to It Will Come Back Syndrome. You might wait for years for a stock to come back. Occasionally you might see fleeting periods of strength followed by more disappointment. Some of these stocks will be ridden down to zero as hope of their coming back is impaled in the investors' psyche. How many people held on to General Motors because their grandparent worked for the company? As a professional money manager, I often view the portfolios of prospective clients. Almost without exception, each client has a big-cap pharmaceutical company in his or her portfolio. I have to pry these stocks loose from the clients' clenched fists as I explain to them that Pfizer's ( PFE - Get Report) best days are in the past. It might move in fits and starts on occasion, but it is not worthy of holding in a long-term portfolio. Here is Pfizer's 10-year chart. As you can see, it is a serial disappointment.
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