Behavioral finance researchers have studied the performance of stock market traders in both America and Asia. Interestingly, they discovered that traders in both countries under-perform the world’s broad markets by significant amounts. One study analyzed 66,400 accounts at a major Wall Street firm over a seven-year period. Another studied all the active traders on the Taiwan, China exchange.
In spite of the cultural differences, the results were virtually the same. Why? Due to the high transaction costs, taxes and bad decisions, the bottom line is simple: “The more you trade the less you earn.” In fact, about 80% of all day traders lose money. In researching the Americans, the study found that the active investors who turned over their portfolios 258% annually made less than 12% on their money. Passive investors who bought and held, with only 2% portfolio turnover, had average returns of roughly 18%, which is about fifty percent higher than the returns of the active investors. Still, investors believe they can “beat The Street,” simple because the Wall Street “Hype Machine” has programmed them to believe that myth. (More)