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I carelessly invested on stock on a spike (I have been persuaded by a family member) and now my investment value is really low, as you can see below.

bing-finance

Is there anyway to salvage my investment for short-term? Would it be better if I sell my stocks now and buy from other company? Or should I just wait for its price to go up again?

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The lesson: investing in specific stocks is not something you should do as a casual investor, exept for entertainment value using money you don't care about. –  Michael Borgwardt Apr 8 at 8:03
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If you care this much about a loss, you clearly did not diversify enough. –  CodesInChaos Apr 8 at 16:48
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Depending on your tax regime and your other investments, you might be able to counter part of the loss by selling it at a time when you are also selling profitable investments, thereby offsetting capital gains tax liability. –  Steve Jessop Apr 8 at 23:51
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"Salvage" this investment the way you would salvage a shipwreck. Pull out the gold, abandon the wreck, and put your gold somewhere else. –  NL7 Apr 9 at 15:29
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The loss is in the past, what your best action is now does not depend on the past. You have a stock with some value now, it doesn't matter if it was worth twice as much or half this much last week. –  RemcoGerlich Apr 11 at 13:06
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15 Answers 15

Is there anyway to salvage my investment for short-term?

No. If by "salvage" you mean "get back as much as you paid", the only way to salvage it is to wait as long as you consider "short-term" and see if goes up again. If by "salvage" you mean "get some money back", the only thing you can do to guarantee that is sell it now. By doing so, you guarantee that you will get neither more nor less than it is worth right now. Either way, there is nothing you can do other than sell the stock or hold it. The stock price went down. You can't make it go back up.

Would it be better if I sell my stocks now and buy from other company? Or should I just wait for it's price to go up again?

This depends on why you bought the stock, and what you think it will do in the future. You said a family member persuaded you. Does that family member still think the stock will go up again? If so, do you still trust them?

You didn't even say what stock it is in your question, so there's no way anyone here can tell you whether it's a good idea to sell it or not. Even if you do say what stock it is, all anyone can do is guess. If you want, you could look the stock up on Motley Fool or other sites to see if analysts believe it will rise. There are lots of sources of information. But all you can do with that information is decide to sell the stock or not.

It may sound obvious, but you should sell if you think the stock will go lower, and hold it if you think it could still go back up. No one can tell you which of those things is going to happen.

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+1 for the last paragraph. People make so many mistakes because they forget that the past is irrelevant (other than as a lesson to learn from). How you got to "now" doesn't matter, all that matters is where you are now and how the future will unfold –  Richard Tingle Apr 8 at 10:22
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+1. How entertaining can it be to read the obvious answer in clear words... Especially the first paragraph. –  Jo So Apr 9 at 14:43
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It would be useful to forget about the initial price that you invested - that loss happened, it's over and irreversible, it's a sunk cost; and anchoring on it would only cause you to make worse decisions. Getting "back" from a loss is done exactly the same as growing an investment that didn't have such a loss.

You have x units of stock that's currently priced $46.5 - that is your blank slate; you need to decide wether you should hold that stock (i.e., if $46.5 is undervalued and likely to increase) or it's likely to fall further and you should sell it. The decision you make should be exactly the same as if you'd bought it a bit earlier for $40.

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Another useful way to think about it is: "if somebody sold your position for you and gave you the cash, would you re-buy that stock now or would you choose another investment?". –  assylias Apr 13 at 7:57
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You should be worried. You have made the mistake of entering an investment on the recommendation of family/friend. The last think you should do is make another mistake of just leaving it and hoping it will go up again.

Your stock has dropped 37.6% from its high of $74.50. That means it has to go up over 60% just to reach the high of $74.50. You are correct this may never happen or if it does it could take a long, long time to get up to its previous highs.

What is the company doing to turn its fortunes around?

Take a look at some other examples:

QAN.AX - Qantas Airways

QAN

This stock reached a high of around $6 in late 2007 after a nice uptrend over a year and a half, it then dropped drastically at the start of the GFC, and has since kept falling and is now priced at just $1.15. QAN reported its first ever loss earlier this year, but its problems were evident much earlier.

AAPL - Apple Inc.

AAPL

AAPL reach a high of just over $700 in September 2013, then dropped to around $400 and has recovered a bit to about $525 (still 25% below its highs) and looks to be at the start of another downtrend. How long will it take AAPL to get back to $700, more than 33% from its current price?

TEN.AX - Ten Network Holdings Limited

TEN

TEN reached a high of $4.26 in late 2004 after a nice uptrend during 2004. It then started a steep journey downwards and is still going down. It is now priced at just $0.25, a whopping 94% below its high. It will have to increase by 1600% just to reach its high of $4.26 (which I think will never happen).

Can a stock come back from a drastic downtrend? Yes it can. It doesn't always happen, but a company can turn around and can reach and even surpass it previous highs. The question is how and when will this happen? How long will you keep your capital tied up in a stock that is going nowhere and has every chance of going further down?

The most important thing with any investment is to protect your current capital. If you lose all your capital you cannot make any new investments until you build up more capital. That is why it is so important to have a risk management strategy and decide what is your get out point if things go against you before you get into any new investment. Have a stop loss.

I would get out of your investment before you lose more capital. If you had set a stop loss at 20% off the stock's last highs, you would have gotten out at about $59.60, 28% higher than the current share price of $46.50.

If you do further analysis on this company and find that it is improving its prospects and the stock price breaks up through its current ranging band, then you can always buy back in. However, do you still want to be in the stock if it breaks the range band on the downside? In this case who knows how low it can continue to go.

N.B. This is my opinion, as others would have theirs, and what I would do in your current situation with this stock.

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I am no expert, but isn't it a mistake to even consider the $74.50 as anything other than part of the history of the stock. - The 74.50 is a sunk cost. His stock is now worth 46.50 - If it could be expected to rally to $60 in a reasonably short time it's worth it to stay for that, the fact that it might not rally to 74.50 seems irrelevant. - Note that I am not arguing that he should keep the stock, I am arguing that the stock is now worth $46.50 and he should base his strategy on that value. –  Taemyr Apr 8 at 8:48
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@Taemyr - The OP bought the stock at the spike where he has it circled. The OP hasn't given the price he bought it at but the 52 week high was $74.50, so I would say he bought it near this price. So to estimate the current loss and how much is required to get back to break even, $74.50 is very relevant. Do you think if the OP bought near $74.50 he would consider at $60, after all if it has started recovering and reaches $60 why could it not keep going and reach $74.50 or higher? –  Victor Apr 8 at 9:01
    
@Taemyr - What makes you say "If it could be expected to rally to $60 in a reasonably short time..." ? It could also be expected to fall to $30. The point is the future price is not known, and a stock in a trend is more likely to continue that trend rather than change directions and trend in the opposite direction. So in fact it can be more expected that this stock continues its journey down rather than rally to $60. –  Victor Apr 8 at 9:04
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The word "If" is not a coincidence. The $60 value is completely arbitrary, what I am saying is that OP should consider the expected value of the stock relative to where it is now. The fact that he bought it at 74.50 is irrelevant. (The fact that the stock was worth 74.50 a short time ago is not, since it indicates trends) –  Taemyr Apr 8 at 9:09
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Or said in another way; the statements "I made a bad investment of $10,000 and now I only have $1000 left. How do I recover my money" and "I have $1,000, how do I turn this into $10,000" are equivalent. –  Taemyr Apr 8 at 9:14
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I had a coworker whose stock picking skills were clearly in the 1% level. I had a few hundred shares of EMC, bought at $10. When my coworker bought at $80, I quietly sold as it spiked to $100. It then crashed, as did many high tech stocks, and my friend sold his shares close to the $4 bottom advising that the company would go under. So I backed up the truck at $5, which for me, at the time, meant 1000 shares. This was one of nearly 50 trades I made over a good 10 year period. He was loud enough to hear throughout the office, and his trades, whether buy or sell, were 100% wrong.

Individual stocks are very tough, as other posters have offered. That, combined with taking advice from those who probably had no business giving it. For the record, I am semi-retired. Not from stock picks, but from budgeting 20% of income to savings, and being indexed (S&P) with 90% of the funds. If there are options on your stock, you might sell calls for a few years, but that's a long term prospect. I'd sell and take my losses. Lesson learned. I hope.

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+1 for being able to spot which guy to be contrarian to. I had a co-worker that was hell bent on buy high, sell low, make it up in volume. –  Mark0978 Apr 8 at 15:48
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You probably bought the stock near the peak because "it's been up a lot lately." That's the easiest way to lose money.

You need to go back and do some basic research. The stock appears to have been expensive around 75. Why is that? The stock seems to be in a "comfortable" level around 45. Why is THAT? Maybe it's too expensive around 45 (based on the P/E ratio, or other measures); maybe you should buy more at 45, where it is cheap, even though 75 is too expensive.

The key is to study the stock where it is today (45-47). Ask yourself what you would do at TODAY's price, and today's "fundamentals." That will also save you from paying 75 for a stock worth 45, and should save you from paying 45 for a stock if it is only worth 35.

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+1 good to see you here, Tom. "what you would do at TODAY's price, and today's 'fundamentals.'" Exactly. And my mod powers don't let me see who gave you a DV, but I liked your answer. –  JoeTaxpayer Apr 10 at 0:23
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If you know you have picked a bad stock, the sooner you sell the better. There is a tendency to hold a bad stock in the hope that it will pick up again. Most of us fall into this trap.

The best way one needs to look at things are;

  • If you had the same amount of money [suppose you sold it], would you buy this stock at this price? If the answer is yes, hold the stock. If the answer is NO, get rid of it.
  • The other reason to hold this stock is a reminder. Although not recommended, I had one very badly performing stock value close to NIL that I have held. It keeps reminding me that I need to be carefuly and sell bad stocks.
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If you're asking this question, you probably aren't ready to be buying individual stock shares, and may not be ready to be investing in the market at all.

Short-term in the stock market is GAMBLING, pure and simple, and gambling against professionals at that. You can reduce your risk if you spend the amount of time and effort the pros do on it, but if you aren't ready to accept losses you shouldn't be playing and if you aren't willing to bet it all on a single throw of the dice you should diversify and accept lower potential gain in exchange for lower risk. (Standard advice: Index funds.)

The way an investor, as opposed to a gambler, deals with a stock price dropping -- or surging upward, or not doing anything! -- is to say "That's interesting. Given where it is NOW, do I expect it to go up or down from here, and do I think I have someplace to put the money that will do better?" If you believe the stock will gain value from here, holding it may make more sense than taking your losses.

Specific example: the mortgage-crisis market crash of a few years ago. People who sold because stock prices were dropping and they were scared -- or whose finances forced them to sell during the down period -- were hurt badly. Those of us who were invested for the long term and could afford to leave the money in the market -- or who were brave/contrarian enough to see it as an opportunity to buy at a better price -- came out relatively unscathed; all I have "lost" was two years of growth.

So: You made your bet. Now you have to decide: Do you really want to "buy high, sell low" and take the loss as a learning experience, or do you want to wait and see whether you can sell not-so-low. If you don't know enough about the company to make a fairly rational decision on that front, you probably shouldn't have bought its stock.

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It'd be polite if downvoters indicated what they were disagreeing with. –  keshlam Apr 10 at 4:16
    
My first post here. I was thinking the exact same thing as your answer (so I upvoted you). He (and I) have no business buying stocks in the first place, unless we'd like to gamble a little! This is evident by OPs lack of basic understanding about stocks. –  Peter V. Mørch Apr 10 at 12:18
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Ignore sunk costs and look to future returns. Although it feels like a loss to exit an investment from a loss position, from a financial standpoint you should ignore the purchase price. If your money could be better invested somewhere else, then move it there.

You shouldn't look at it as though you'll be more financially secure because you waited longer for the stock to reach the purchase price. That's psychological, not financial.

Some portion of your invested wealth is stuck in this particular stock. If it would take three months for the stock to get back to purchase price but only two months for an alternate investment to reach that same level, then obviously faster growth is better. Your goal is greater wealth, not arbitrarily returning certain investments to their purchase price.

Investments are just instrumental. You want more wealth. If an investment is not performing, then ignore purchase price and sunken costs. Look at the reasonable expectations about an investment going forward.

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+1 for the psychological perspective. Also the other side of increasing wealth is also protecting your existing capital. Without any capital it would be hard to create future wealth. –  Victor Apr 10 at 21:14
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The market doesn't know or care why you bought.

What you are asking is effectively 'this share went down in price after I bought. Is there anything I can do?'. Consider what you are asking for - if there were anything you could do, then no one would ever make a loss. How do you suppose that would work?

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Some financial planners would not advise one way or the other on a specific stock without knowing your investment strategy... if you didn't have one, their goal would be to help you develop one and introduce you to a portfolio management framework like Asset Allocation.

Is a two of clubs a good card? Well, that all depends on what is in your hand (diversification) and what game you are playing(investing strategy).

One possibility to reduce your basis over time if you would like to hold the stock is to sell calls against it, known as a 'covered-call'. It can be an intermediate-term (30-60+ months depending on option pricing) trading strategy that may require you to upgrade your brokerage account to allow option trades. Personally I like this strategy because it makes me feel proactive about my portfolio rather than sitting on the side lines and watching stocks move.

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Basically, your question boils down to this:

Where and how do I squeeze the stock market so that within time period X, it will make me Y dollars. (Where I'm emotionally attached to the Y figure because I recently lost it, and X is "as soon as possible".)

  1. There is no guaranteed way to make the market pay you back; all additional trades carry risk. The shorter the desired period X and the greater the amount Y (the more money you want to make, and the shorter the time) the greater is the risk of losing.
  2. The stock on which you lost money is not necessarily the best instrument for gaining back the money, even though it is attached to the mistake. You must think of the mistake only in terms of dollars, dissociated with whatever instrument as involved in the loss.

To make money on the stock market (in a quasi-guaranteed way), you have to adjust X and Y so that they are realistic. For instance, let X be twenty-five years, and Y be "7% annual return".

Small values of X are risky, unless X is on the order of milliseconds and you have a computer program working for you.

To mitigate some of the risk of short term trading, you have to treat trading seriously and study like mad: study the stock market in general, and not only that, but carefully research the companies whose stocks you are buying. Work actively to discover stocks which are under-valued relative to the performance of their corporation, and which might correct upward relative to the performance of similar stocks.

Always have an exit strategy for every position and stick to it. Use instruments like "trailing stops": automatic tracking which follows a price in one direction, and then produces an order to close the position when the price reverses by a certain amount.

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Inside advice: "The stock market is a poker game run by the pros for the pros. Making side bets on the pros is relatively safe. Sitting down at the table and playing against them isn't; remember that if you don't see the sucker at the poker table, he's sitting in your chair." –  keshlam Apr 9 at 12:38
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You can do several things:

  • After the fact: If you believe the stock will go up, you can buy more stock now, it's what's called "averaging". So, you bought 100 at $10, now it's at $7. To gain money from your original investment it needs to raise to over $10. But if you really think it'll go up, you can buy and average. So you buy, say, 100 more stock at $7, now you have 200 shares at $8.50 average so you gain money on your investment when the stock goes over $8.50 instead of $10. Of course, you risk losing even more money if the stock keeps going down.

  • Before the fact: When you buy stock, set 'triggers'. In most trading houses you can set automatic triggers to fire on conditions you set. When you buy 100 shares at $10, you can set a trigger to automatically sell the 100 shares if it drops below $9, so you limit your losses to 10% (for example).

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Yes, you could sell what you have and bet against others that the stock price will continue to fall within a period of time "Shorting". If you're right, your value goes UP even though the stock price goes down.

This is a pretty darn risky bet to make. If you're wrong, there's no limit to how much money you can owe. At least with stocks they can only fall to zero! When you short, and the price goes up and up and up (before the deadline) you owe it!

And just as with stocks, someone else has to agree to take the bet. If a stock is pretty obviously tanking, its unlikely that someone would oppose your bet.

(It's probably pretty clear that I barely know what I'm talking about, but I was surprised not to see this listed among the answers.)

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It probably wasn't mentioned because of the lack of understanding the OP already has in buying stocks, let alone shorting them. This strategy would be too advanced for the current level of the OP. –  Victor Apr 10 at 21:18
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Just get out. If the investment isn't going up, you are losing money to inflation, as well as the opportunity cost of not having the money somewhere more profitable.

These things happen to the best of us. Just learn from it and move on. Some valuable lessons:

  1. Don't take stock advice from family members.
  2. Stop losses are your friend (when used properly).
  3. I'm not against investing in individual stocks like a lot of other people here are. However, they do require more research, which-- to be frank-- it appears you didn't really do.
  4. Even if you like the company fundamentals, the technicals can still be unfavorable. Make sure you understand both. I like to use fundamentals to find a great company, then use technical analysis to find a good time to buy it. Patience is your friend here. I just keep a spreadsheet with a growing list of companies I like, but haven't bought yet. About once per week I check in to see if any of them are at a good technical level to buy.

Just keep trying. Mistakes like this are all part of the learning process.

Best of luck.

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The worth of a share of stocks may be defined as the present cash value of all future dividends and liquidations associated therewith. Without a crystal ball, such worth may generally only be determined retrospectively, but even though it's generally not possible to know the precise worth of a stock in time for such information to be useful, it has a level of worth which is absolute and not--unlikely market price--is generally unaffected by people buying and selling the stock (except insofar as activities in company stock affect a company's ability to do business).

If a particular share of stock is worth $10 by the above measure, but Joe sells it to Larry for $8, that means Joe gives Larry $2. If Larry sells it to Fred $12, Fred gives Larry $2. The only way Fred can come out ahead is if he finds someone else to give him $2 or more. If Fred can sell it to Adam for $13, then Adam will give Fred $3, leaving Fred $1 better off than he would be if he hadn't bought the stock, but Adam will be $3 worse off.

The key point is that if you sell something for less than it's worth, or buy something for more that it's worth, you give money away. You might be able to convince other people to give you money in the same way you gave someone else money, but fundamentally the money has been given away, and it's not coming back.

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Quite a lot of discussion leading to the punchline "the money has been given away, and it's not coming back," which is just about right. –  JoeTaxpayer Apr 10 at 10:02
    
@JoeTaxpayer: Yes, but I seldom see much mention of the idea that (from the above example) Fred lost $2 the moment he bought the stock. He gained $3 when he sold it (at the expense of Adam) but the purchase was still a $2 loss. –  supercat Apr 10 at 12:57
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'Fred lost $2 the moment he bought" is a tough one for me to accept. It implies that one has a pricing mechanism that simu doesn't exist. It also opens the door to the idea that unless a stock starts going up the moment you buy, you over paid by some number you should have known in the first place. –  JoeTaxpayer Apr 10 at 16:05
    
@JoeTaxpayer: Any real worth a stock has comes from the future income stream represented thereby. Thus, the worth of a stock at some point in time is the value of that future income stream. To someone for whom the future income stream of a stock would be worth $1/share, the value of the stock cannot exceed that [unless the value of the future income stream changes]. If one buys the stock for $0.50, one makes a 100% profit; if one buys it for $10, one takes a 90% loss. If one buys some other stock for $2 and sells for $3, one would know that... –  supercat Apr 10 at 16:19
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@supercat - so what is "the worth of a stock at some point in time is the value of that future income stream". Are you saying you can work out the future income stream of a stock? Unfortunately the value one puts on a stock is to some extent based on that person's assumptions and their biases they put on those assumptions. That is why different analysts can have different values for the same stock. –  Victor Apr 10 at 21:29
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