70/20/10 Rule Redux

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Dear fellow investors,

A friend of our stock picking discipline reminded us of a very important force in the stock market. It was called the 70/20/10 rule, and it was promoted by Roger Edelman, Richard Evans and Gregory Kadlec in an early 2013 Financial Analysts Journal article. We had written about this in 2016, but today’s circumstances beg for a reminder.

Part one of the rule said that in the next 12 months, the return you got on a stock was 70% determined by what the U.S. stock market did, 20% was determined by how the industry group did and 10% was based on how undervalued and successful the individual company was. Part two of the rule said that over ten years, 70% of how you did would be determined by the valuation and success of your company, 20% by how the industry did and 10% would be determined by how the stock market did.

This is especially important in an overall expensive U.S. stock market as we start the year 2024. Here is one chart that would argue that your hope for successful stock market participation won’t come from passive S&P 500 Index investing:

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