NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The difference between an investor and a trader is time.
Investors have it. Traders don't.
Which brings me to today's least-favored stock, Amazon (AMZN).
Everyone who loved Amazon at $400 hates it at $300. Jim Cramer writes that there is an "Amazon Army," companies that prefer growth to profits, which is now "toxic" to your portfolio. Richard Suttmeier sees a bubble that has popped.
In the near term, they're right. Fashions have changed. High multiple stocks like Amazon are out of fashion right now. But for investors, with a longer time horizon, this may be like seeing Apple (AAPL) at $400 a few years ago.
Traders follow the moves of the market, watching one another as much as the stocks they might buy, looking for momentum they can follow. They worry about the pennies that high frequency traders might grab on ordinary purchases, and the dollars they might grab on sudden moves, because they think they can grab those pennies and those dollars.
Investors should keep a list handy of great American companies, and buy them when they're being hated on. If it's a short-term hate, maybe it won't hit your target price and you'll have to wait. If it's a trend, like Apple's plunge from $700 to $400 after it first announced a dividend, or Amazon's recent fall of 25%, you may find yourself with a bargain.
Buy the bargain, put it in your portfolio, then go back to your list and wait until another bargain comes along. Keep the rest of your money working in a broad-based mutual fund with a low expense ratio.