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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings

ISBN: 978-0-471-44550-0
320 pages
August 2003
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (0471445509) cover image


Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today's financiers and investors, but are also regarded by many as gospel. This book is invaluable reading and has been since it was first published in 1958. The updated paperback retains the investment wisdom of the original edition and includes the perspectives of the author's son Ken Fisher, an investment guru in his own right in an expanded preface and introduction

"I sought out Phil Fisher after reading his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits...A thorough understanding of the business, obtained by using Phil's techniques...enables one to make intelligent investment commitments."
Warren Buffet

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Table of Contents

Preface What I Learned from My Father’s Writings xi
Kenneth L. Fisher

Introduction 1
Kenneth L. Fisher


Preface 31

1. Clues from the Past 34

2. What “Scuttlebutt” Can Do 44

3. What to Buy: The Fifteen Points to Look for in a Common Stock 47

4. What to Buy: Applying This to Your Own Needs 79

5. When to Buy 89

6. When to Sell: And When Not To 105

7. The Hullabaloo about Dividends 114

8. Five Don’ts for Investors 123

9. Five More Don’ts for Investors 135

10. How I Go about Finding a Growth Stock 162

11. Summary and Conclusion 172


Epigraph 176

Introduction 177

1. The First Dimension of a Conservative Investment 180

2. The Second Dimension 187

3. The Third Dimension 198

4. The Fourth Dimension 207

5. More about the Fourth Dimension 213

6. Still More about the Fourth Dimension 218


Dedication to Frank E. Block 226

1. Origins of a Philosophy 227

The Birth of Interest 228

Formative Experiences 229

First Lessons in the School of Experience 231

Building the Basics 232

The Great Bear Market 234

A Chance to Do My Thing 235

From Disaster, Opportunity Springs 236

A Foundation Is Formed 237

2. Learning from Experience 238

Food Machinery as an Investment Opportunity 239

Zigging and Zagging 242

Contrary, but Correct 243

Patience and Performance 244

To Every Rule,There Are Exceptions . . . But Not Many 247

An Experiment with Market Timing 248

Reaching for Price, Foregoing Opportunity 249

3. The Philosophy Matures 252

E Pluribus Unum 253

History versus Opportunity 255

Lessons from the Vintage Years 257

Do Few Things Well 259

Stay or Sell in Anticipation of Possible Market Downturns? 260

In and Out May Be Out of the Money 263

The Long Shadow of Dividends 264

4. Is the Market Efficient? 266

The Fallacy of the Efficient Market 267

The Raychem Corporation 270

Raychem, Dashed Expectations, and the Crash 271

Raychem and the Efficient Market 274

Conclusion 275

Appendix Key Factors in Evaluating Promising Firms 279

Functional Factors 279

People Factors 281

Business Characteristics 282

Index 283

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Author Information

PHILIP A. FISHER began his career as a securities analyst in 1928, and founded Fisher & Company, an investment counseling business, in 1931. He is known as one of the pioneers of modern investment theory.

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"...written by American Investment genius.... We are delighted to have the opportunity to reproduce an extract from this classic, recently reissued..." (Financial Director, November 2003)

"...these updated classics are packed with investment wisdom..." (What Investment, November 2003)

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