by Charles Cheng, CFA
What does it mean to be a contrarian in investing? According to some respected investors, being contrarian is the only way to outperform the public market. After all, if you are doing something everyone else is doing, how could you do any better than them? But being contrarian has its own set of traps to avoid.
逆向投資意味著什麼？ 一些受人尊敬的投資者認為，逆勢交易是跑贏公開市場的唯一途徑。 畢竟，如果你在做別人都在做的事情，你怎麼能比他們做得更好呢？ 但逆勢而為有其一套陷阱需要避免。
The definition of a contrarian is someone who opposes or rejects popular opinion or current practice. In investing practice, this could take the form of focusing on unloved stocks that most people are avoiding. Or it could mean being bearish while everyone else is bullish and vice versa. As with all strategies, there are certain times where this will be effective and certain times where this will fail completely. While one can make a substantial long-term return by just investing in line with the entire market, being a contrarian all the time in every situation could be a recipe for disaster.
逆勢者是指與當前流行觀點或當前做法持反對意見的人。 在投資實踐中，可以指專注於大多數人迴避或不受歡迎的股票。 或者也可以指在其他人都看漲的同時看跌，反之亦然。 與所有策略一樣，在某些時候這會有效，而在某些時候會完全失敗。 雖然一個人可以通過與整個市場保持一致來獲得可觀的長期回報，但在任何情況下都一直逆勢而上可能是災難的根源。
Bull markets tend to last 5-8 years while bear markets are shorter and happen more quickly. The most recent bear market that happened due to financial reasons (as opposed to a global pandemic) was in 2008, 13-14 years ago. Being underinvested in a bull market is already costly in terms of the opportunity cost of missed returns but being contrarian and consistently bearish guarantees severe underperformance. On the other hand, often the best time to buy is when the rest of the market is panic selling at the height of a bear market.
牛市往往會持續 5-8 年，而熊市則比較短且發生得更快。 最近發生的一次熊市（由於財務原因而不是全球疫情爆發）是在 13-14 年前的 2008 年。 就機會成本而言，在牛市中投資不足已經會使投資者付出高昂的代價，但逆勢和持續看跌會導致嚴重的虧損。 另一方面，買入的最佳時機通常是當市場總大部分人在熊市高峰期恐慌性拋售時。
A successful contrarian needs to have a reasonable cause to believe that they are right when the rest of the market is wrong. Perhaps he or she has done extensive research on a company and understands its future earnings power better than everyone else (a not so easy task given the amount, of resources spent analyzing public companies). The further away from the market consensus his view is, the return this analyst would gain shall be higher, when he or she is eventually proven correct by future results due to the asset being initially mispriced.
一個成功的逆向投資者需要有合理的理由相信當市場的其他部分錯誤時他們是正確的。 也許他或她對一家公司進行了廣泛的研究，並且比其他人更了解其未來的盈利能力（考慮到分析上市公司所花費的資源量，這不是一件容易的事）。 他/她的觀點離市場共識越遠，那麼當他/她的觀點最終被證明為正確時他/她的回報將越高，因為當時該資產被市場錯誤估值。
They would also need to expect a trigger or catalyst for the rest of the market to realize their view. Such a trigger could be the company results surprising on the upside in the next earnings report, or a turnaround in the underlying business performance in the next year. If you think that a company is undervalued but nothing is going to happen to help the rest of the market realize it for years, then you’re not very likely to get a return from your insight.
他們也還需要看到其他市場因素或催化劑的觸發來實現他們的觀點。 這樣的觸發因素可能是公司業績在下一份收益報告中出人意料地上升，或者是明年基礎業務表現的好轉。 如果你認為一家公司被低估了，但多年都沒有任何事情能讓市場意識到這一點會發生，那麼你不太可能從你的洞察力中獲得回報。
Finally, one of the most dangerous positions to be in investing is stubbornly sticking to a view when you’re wrong. This is a risk for both consensus and contrarian investors, though it is usually much more apparent when the consensus view becomes wrong. When taking a contrarian position, you must also establish the possibility that you yourself are wrong and what events to observe to tell you that is the case. Usually this would be the reverse of the triggers that would tell you that you’re right. If the triggers that you establish before making the investment don’t happen the way that you expect, it’s time to be disciplined and close your bet so that you can survive to try again another day.
最後，投資中最危險的立場之一就是在你犯錯時還頑固地堅持自己的觀點。 這對共識投資者和逆向投資者來說都是一種風險，當共識觀點變得不對時，錯誤通常會比較明顯。 在採取逆勢立場時，您還必須確定您自己錯了的可能性以及要觀察哪些事件可以告訴您是這種情況。 通常這與告訴你你是對的觸發因素相反。 如果您在進行投資之前建立的觸發因素沒有按您預期的方式發生，那麼這是遵守紀律並結束您的賭注的時候了，以便您可以生存下來，改天再試一次。
This article reflects the personal views of the author and not that of any firm, and should not be viewed as an investment recommendation.