A Wall Street legend explains why it 'disturbs' him when people tell him they 'play the market'

Peter Lynch

“Playing the markets” is a common idiom on Wall Street.

But Peter Lynch, a mutual fund legend, is no fan of the expression.

For 13 years, from 1977 to 1990, Peter Lynch headed the Magellan Fund of Fidelity, the Boston-based multinational financial services corporation. He retired in 1990 at the top of his game and is often considered one of the best stock pickers to ever run a mutual fund.

According to Investopedia, Lynch beat the S&P benchmark in 11 out of the 13 year during which he managed the Magellan Fund, “achieving an annual average return of 29%.” When he was running the fund, 1 in every 100 Americans was invested in it, he told The Wall Street Journal.

In an interview
with Institutional Investor’s Kip McDaniel, Lynch explained why he is disturbed when people tell him they ‘play the market’ or are ‘looking to play the market.’

“Play is the wrong verb for the stock market, this is work,” he said.”It can be fun work.”

“You don’t get a tip on the bus and buy for $US10,000 some stock,” he added.”You’ve got to do some research if you’re buying a stock whether you are an ammeter or a professional.”

Lynch said this sort of “gambling” or “playing the markets” is widespread.

“You have to separate investing versus gambling,” he said. “And a lot of people are gambling and that doesn’t work.”

Watch the full interview ยป

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