1 stock for new investors – until you change your mind

Motley Fool is a great website with very useful advice for investors. They recently ran an article that discussed the one investment you should make if you are a new investor and can only afford one stock. Their choice was The Procter & Gamble Company [stckqut]pg[/stckqut]. I haven’t review P&G in a long time (almost 2 years) and the EPS growth has improved slightly so it is now probably a Fair company as opposed to a Poor company back then. The article made me think – what one company would I recommend for a new investor?

Obviously, my choice would not be P&G since it didn’t make my Watch List. In fact, the stock has been fairly flat since I reviewed it 2 years ago (it is trading within 2 or 3 dollars today of what it was doing in February 2010). I have nothing against P&G as the company makes fine products. I brush my teeth and wash my body and clothes with P&G products on a regular basis. But making good products is not good enough. Motley Fool describes how P&G doesn’t surprise its investors very often and has a stable dividend. My problem with that logic is that if you are a new investor then you are likely a young investor (and by young I am saying under 60 years old) and you need your investment to accumulate for several decades.

As I pondered this question, I remembered my favorite advice to investors of all ages: don’t buy and hold rather buy and evaluate! Buying one stock and assuming you are going to keep it for decades is almost a guaranteed losing proposition compared to riding the fastest moving stock at the time.  The new investor needs to be agile with money. Buy a stock that is growing nicely and then when it starts to go flat or decrease in value, dump it and buy a different company that is hot.

Today, that one stock could be Apple [stckqut]aapl[/stckqut] or Coach [stckqut]COH[/stckqut] or Ebix [stckqut]ebix[/stckqut] since these three are all doing nice runs as I write this article (and there are others on the Watch List that are having nice runs as well.) Tomorrow is another question. I have no idea who will be having a solid run tomorrow or next week or next month. I do know that eventually all companies go flat and have a pull-back so I want to jump off the train when that happens and catch the next fast moving express.

So nothing against the good folks at Motley Fool, but I think the advice of one stock is just not good advice. I want to beat the market, not just match it with a “safe” investment.

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