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The Basics: Creating a Stock Portfolio

The Basics: Creating a Stock Portfolio

The Basics: Creating a Stock Portfolio

In a market with surging big boards, high volatility, $85 oil, low commodity prices, and slowing China growth, there is no telling where things will go. That’s why it’s useful in these types of circumstances to take a look back to the basics. With a well-rounded portfolio, it makes it easier to sail through turbulence in the market and come out on top.

Portfolios work because they spread risk. The two types are specific risk and systematic risk. Specific risk relates to risks that may affect a very small group of companies. This is also known as diversifiable risk – meaning that it is possible to reduce it by diversifying into other securities in a portfolio. Benjamin Graham, in The Intelligent Investor, argued that 10 to 30 smartly selected stocks could diversify a portfolio through this type of risk. However, if choosing stocks at random, more may be needed to adequately diversify.

Systematic risk is the type of uncertainty that relates to the entire market or a big segment (such as commodities). Systematic risk cannot be avoided, but it can be hedged against. For example, owning gold or other precious metals can be a hedge against things such as inflation and currency risks.

Original graphic from: Timothy Sykes

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