What Peter Lynch Taught us About Investing in Stocks

By: Darren McLaughlin

Peter Lynch has long been one of the most revered peronalities in stock investing. His returns as a manager of the Fidelity Magellan Mutual Fund were extraordinary, and the huge influx of money into the fund largely because of his stewardship made it the largest mutual fund ever with him at the helm. But Peter Lynch is also known for a series of books he wrote which made investing easy to understand for all people. "Beating the Street", "One Up on Wall Street", and "Learn To Earn" all gave a plain-spoken account of what Peter Lynch had learned in his many years of successful stock picking. He laid his philosophy out into a series of well respected books, and many people have used his techniques successfully to find great
stocks of their own to invest in. Most of his principles are as applicable today as when he first introduced them. We'll take a look at a few of these briefly:

Peter Lynch's greatest teaching was that we are all surrounded by superior investing ideas if we open our eyes to the possibilities. Behind every great stock is a great company, Lynch figured. So the next time you're at the mall, pay attention to which companies are doing the most business. Which store is really crowded? What restaurant chain has really long lines when you go there? Think of a company that moves to your town and dominates the local competition. These
companies, Peter Lynch told us, are the ones that grow into the big winners on Wall Street. And companies that go from tiny seeds to huge multinationals make their investors rich. Most of the battle in investing is finding the best companies and putting the money into them when they're just beginning to grow.

Peter Lynch loved growth stocks. He had his biggest gains when he invested in stocks of companies that were hot at the time. As they ascended into the highest arc of their growth phase, their share price also sizzled. Investors who get in early, at the beginning stage end up making boatloads of dough. Get a few of these twelve-baggers, as Lynch called them, and you're well on your way to easy street. He followed his own advice and often hit huge returns on several stocks that would save his entire portfolio return for the year. If you're pretty sure you're onto a winner, then you need to swing for the fences when your time at the plate occurs. Companies that have rapidly accelerating profit margins and increasing sales have stocks that
rise along with them. As the business expands, the company's share price rises accordingly. If you can find a micro-cap company that ends up becoming a large cap during the time frame you hold it, you'll have substantial returns.

It's impossible to summarize the written and spoken words of a great investor like Peter Lynch in a space like this, so I'll encourage you to do more research and check into this series yourself. All of the basic priniciples of growth investing and portfolio management are covered, and he's also an upbeat writer who illuminates a great many bullish insights you may not have looked into before. Concentrating on a portfolio of growth stocks has worked for others, and it may just work for you.

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