El señor Mercado es una persona importante a conocer si usted desea invertir. Es un personaje ficticio, creado por Benjamin Graham (mentor de Warren Buffett) al cual Graham se refería frecuentemente en sus clases dadas en la Columbia University, y también en su libro: The Intelligent Investor (¿recuerda la lista de libros que usted debe leer si desea aprender a invertir?)
Mercado es un tipo que llega cada día a la puerta del inversor ofreciéndole comprar o vender sus acciones a un precio diferente. A menudo, este precio es razonable, y a menudo el precio es ridículo. El inversor es libre de estar de acuerdo con el precio mencionado y hacer un negocio con Mercado, o ignorarlo por completo. Al señor Mercado eso no le importa, ya que el próximo día, el volverá y ofrecerá otro precio.
El punto de Graham es que el inversor no debe hacer caso al cambio de idea de Mercado para determinar el valor de las acciones que el inversor posee. Un inversor debe tomar ventaja de la locura del mercado, en vez que participar en ella. Un inversor debe concentrarse en el performance en vida real de sus empresas y sus dividendos, en vez de solamente concentrarse en la conducta irracional del señor Mercado.
Esto es lo que escribió Benjamin Graham en el libro The Intelligent Investor (páginas 204, 205)
“Imagine that in some private business you own a small share that cost you $1,000. One of your partners, named Mr. Market, is very obliging indeed. Every day he tells you what he thinks your interest is worth and furthermore offers either to buy you out or to sell you an additional interest on that basis. Sometimes his idea of value appears plausible and justified by business developments and prospects as you know them. Often, on the other hand, Mr. Market lets his enthusiasm or his fears run away with him, and the value he proposes seems to you a little short of silly.
“If you are a prudent investor or a sensible businessman, will you let Mr. Market’s daily communication determine your view of the value of a $1,000 interest in the enterprise? Only in case you agree with him, or in case you want to trade with him. You may be happy to sell out to him when he quotes you a ridiculously high price, and equally happy to buy from him when his price is low. But the rest of the time you will be wiser to form your own ideas of the value of your holdings, based on full reports from the company about its operations and financial position.
“The true investor is in that very position when he owns a listed common stock. He can take advantage of the daily market price or leave it alone, as dictated by his own judgment and inclination. He must take cognizance of important price movements, for otherwise his judgment will have nothing to work on. Conceivably they may give him a warning signal which he will do well to heed—this in plain English means that he is to sell his shares because the price has gone down, foreboding worse things to come. In our view such signals are misleading at least as often as they are helpful. Basically, price fluctuations have only one significant meaning for the true investor. They provide him with an opportunity to buy wisely when prices fall sharply and to sell wisely when they advance a great deal. At other times he will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.”
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