When is the right time to sell?

There is an adage in Dalal Street which goes – “regret after selling and not after buying”.


Many a times you would see investors who have sold stocks at profit however as soon as they sold their shares, the share went up another 10% in a matter of days.  Hence the investor rather than basking in profits is brooding about the loss in profits that he could make if he had waited for a few more days.


Wisdom says this is better than buying a stock and then repenting because it goes down 10% after a few hours of your purchase, which incidentally occurs more number of times than is good for any honest tax paying citizen’s metabolism.  
With the market scaling all time highs and that too bouncing back in a really short time and being as volatile as it is today, one can rest assured that the stocks which have gone up will go down as well and its best to book profits at least to some extent so that if the market goes down your profits do not vanish away completely and at the same time if the market goes further up you are not just sitting on the sidelines and watching the value of the stock that you ‘once owned’ go up.


For a long term investor it important not to rush while selling, and there isn’t a need to book profits out of all stocks that you hold in your portfolio. If you have been patient enough and have bought and kept stocks for over a couple of years, chances are that at least one or two of them are bringing you excess of 100% returns.  In all probability one of these stocks would be overvalued as well, because of the general atmosphere that exists in a bull run, another great plus is that if you own stock for over one year it comes under a long term investment and no tax need to be paid for the capital gains from such appreciation.


Therefore a combination of these three factors – 1. One of the stocks which are bringing in the greatest return in your portfolio, 2. Stock priced more than what you think should be the fair value and 3. Stock owned for over a year give a good yardstick to sell.


If you are holding a stock for a fairly long term you would have a good idea on what its worth is but as a general and quick guideline if the P/E exceeds the growth rate considerably then you can look at booking some profits in the stock.


There is no sure shot way of either predicting the bottom or the top when one is dealing with the markets the best one can do is over a long term stick to some sort of game-plan which brings more profits than would have accrued if the investor had just invested in fixed deposits or bonds.

Manshu Verma

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