A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 14, 2008
“Don’t get married to a stock” (Wall Street adage)

Some investors stay loyal to a stock long after the stock’s performance has slipped. A common bit of investment advice (cited in print from at least the 1950s) is to “never fall in love with a stock.”

After “love” often comes “marriage.” By at least the early 1960s, investors were told: “Don’t get married to a stock.”

Investor Warren Buffet believed something different—to hold on to good stocks—in one of his popular proverbs: “You should invest like a Catholic marries—for life.”


The Free Dictionary
marry a stock
To hold a stock for a long period regardless of other investment opportunities or indications that the security should be sold. Most investment advisers consider it unwise to marry a stock, because an investor’s needs and the desirability of a particular stock will change over time.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today’s Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

25 July 1963, Oakland (CA) Tribune, pg. E33, col. 6 ad:
don’t ever “marry” a stock
Holding any stock permanently, unquestioningly, for better or for worse, is apt to turn out “for poorer” instead of “for richer.”
(...)
DEAN WITTER & CO.

24 January 1964, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, “Use inheritance to buy sound stocks” by Roger E. Spear, pg. 18, col. 7:
Q) (...) “You often say don’t get married to stocks. Should I sell these, nail down the profits, and get into something else?” J. B.
A) You have used extremely good judgment, and I commend you for it. It would be difficult to improve on the list you’ve put together.

When I speak of “getting married” to a stock, I refer only to deteriorating situations that investors can’t bring themselves to sell because their pride of opinion becomes involved.

Google Books
Our World Without Money: Why and How
By Raymond C Baumgardner
Published by Ediciones Pax
1966
Pg. 334:
It is very evident that they do not “marry” a stock and hold it for weeks and months on end, wondering when they can get out with a profit.

2 April 1968, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “High Quality Stocks Should Be Retained” by Roger E. Spear, pg. ES15, col. 6:
NEW YORK—Many times you mention being married to a stock. We are not active market traders, so it may be that we are in this special category. I am concerned about our utilities which seem to be at a standstill. Our list is enclosed.—D. McF.
A—You have an excellent list of stocks, too long to be included here. They should cause you no concern. When I speak of being married to a stock, I am generally referring to a retrograde situation which many investors will cling to while the price declines, rather than admit to an error of judgment in making their original purchase.

Google Books
Passport to Retirement
By John D. Provenzano
Published by Salesiana Pub.
1971
Pg. 52:
Don’t be tempted by a “good thing” to change your plan, - yet don’t feel “married” to a stock.

17 September 1972, New York (NY) Times, “Examining The ‘Buy And Hold’ Philosophy” by Donald T. Regan, pg. F14:
Above all, no investor should ever marry a stock. Save devotion and affection for people, not stocks; don’t hold a security because you are feeling sentimental. 

Google Books
The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-sense Investment Guide:
How We Beat the Stock Market—and How You Can Too

By Beardstown Ladies Investment Club, Leslie Whitaker
New York, NY: Hyperion
1996
Pg. 126:
“The saying is, ‘You don’t want to get married to a stock.’”—HELEN KRAMER

New York (NY) Times
Selecting the Moment To Circle the Wagons
By MICHAEL BRUSH
Published: August 4, 1996
(...)
‘’You can’t get married to a stock,’’ said Charles Dyer, who manages the Hawthorne Sea fund through Hawthorne Associates in Boston. ‘’The stock does not know that you own it. You have to just admit that either you were wrong or times have changed, and cut your losses. You can always buy it back.’’

Google Books
Financial Planning for the Utterly Confused
By Joel J. Lerner
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional
1998
Pg. 103:
Don’t fall in love: Don’t get married to a stock even if it’s your employer’s stock that you have accumulated over the years. Weed out those stocks that are not meeting your objectives, even if it’s the first stock you ever bought.

Google Books
The Complete Investment and Finance Dictionary:
The Most Thorough and Updated Reference Available

By Howard Bryan Bonham
Published by Adams Media
2001
Pg. 410:
“married to a stock.” A term describing an investor who refuses to sell a stock that has dropped in price, even though it is obvious the stock was not a good buy.

Google Books
Stock Market Rules:
50 of the Most Widely Held Investment Axioms Explained, Examined, and Exposed

By Michael D. Sheimo
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional, 2005
Pg. 166:
Although a case can be made for holding a stock when the price has declined severely, getting married to a stock, then staying with it through thick and thin, can be a dangerous strategy. Buy and sell decisions in the stock market need to be made with logic and reason, without emotion.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Tuesday, October 14, 2008 • Permalink