Articles From the August 1995 Unification News


What's Your Investment Style?

by Garry Barker

When you invest, do you tend to "swim against the tide," always taking a point of view that is opposite from your counterparts? If so, you may be a contrarian investor. Conversely, do you always check the asset value or book value of a stock to determine if it is attractively valued? That could mean you're a value investor. Consider the following investment styles. Which is closest to yours?

* Contrarian. The contrarian buys stocks that others shun. Such stocks often have low price/earnings ratios, are usually in an out-of-favor industry, trade close to book value, and have small institutional ownership. According to contrarian opinion, when people say the market is going up, it means they are fully invested and have no additional purchasing power. To the contrarian, this means the market is at its peak. When people are predicting a decline, the contrarian believes that they have already sold out and thus the market will go up.

* Cyclical investor. A cyclical investor buys stock in companies that will benefit from a change in the economic cycle. Earnings of these companies go up and down with changes in the business cycle and so these stocks are often valued on "peak" earnings-or the amount the company can be expected to earn at the peak of the business cycle. Examples of cyclical industries are housing, automobiles and paper.

* Growth investor. This individual chooses stocks that have potential for above-average earnings growth in the future or that have long histories of above-average growth. Over time, growth stocks tend to outperform slower-growing companies. However, such companies tend to reinvest earnings into the company and thus pay little or no dividends.

* Income investor. Stocks that have moderate dividend yields and prospects for dividend growth appeal to this investor. A steadily growing dividend reinvested into additional shares of a high-quality stock can compound returns nicely.

* Value investor. Seeking value, this individual buys stocks that appear inexpensive based on the assets the company has today. This investor's theory is that if a company can earn just average profits on its net assets, then its share price should rise closer to its net assets per share. When the stock market is at high valuations, value investors often become contrarians.

Which style is yours?

Possibly your investment philosophy reflects a mix of styles. The more you know about yourself, the better prepared you are to set financial goals and work toward them. Your financial advisor can help you determine what investments may be suitable for your style, investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Information and data in this report were obtained from sources considered reliable. Their accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and the giving of the same is not to be deemed a solicitation on Dean Witter's part with respect to the purchase or sale of securities or commodities.


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