zerohedge.com / By SG Value Investor via ValueWalk.com / Aug 30, 2016 12:03 PM
What is the Greater Fool Theory?
The Greater Fool Theory is when the price of a good is not determined by its intrinsic value, but rather by irrational beliefs and expectations of market participants. Essentially, it is about buying a good at a price then offloading it to the next fool at a higher price. This vicious cycle would continue till the point where market participants ‘wake up’ and realize that the good is no longer worth that value. The best example would probably be the tulip mania where the Dutch were trading houses and lands just for plots of tulips. As absurd as it may sound, back then even the most rational were engaged in such madness. With such irrational beliefs and expectations of the market, it would ultimately result in a ‘bubble’.
You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out
– Warren Buffett
What does it mean for investors?
Companies with solid earnings and fundamentals trading at higher valuations are justifiable. However, not all companies that are trading at such high valuations have the same fundamentals backing it. Companies belonging to the latter category can be further divided into three sub-categories.