The bottom line: There is no magic way to sell to ensure maximum gains every time out. I think anytime you sell, you could cost yourself money if that stock turns out to be a big winner. I understand that risk. On the other hand, as Third Avenue shows, there are also risks in getting too complacent about a holding. When the market gives you a great price to sell, you should be willing to at least think about reducing your position. As long as valuations remain reasonable, though, you may hold a stock indefinitely as the stock and the value of the business grow together over time.
Also, we don’t have to be perfect in holding onto everything we buy in aiming for Phelps’ 100-to-1 returns. The main idea is to know how those big returns happened and what investors had to do to get them.
Phelps summed it up best. “Just as a slight change in a golfer’s grip and stance may improve his game, so a little more emphasis on buying for keeps, a little more determination not to be tempted to sell… may fatten your portfolio. In Alice in Wonderland, one had to run fast in order to stand still. In the stock market, the evidence suggests, one who buys right must stand still in order to run fast.”