Buy and Hold

The "buy and hold" approach to investing in stocks rests upon the assumption that in the long term (over the course of, say, 10 or more years) stock prices will go up, but the average investor doesn't know what will happen tomorrow. Historical data from the past 50 years supports this claim. The logic behind the idea is that in a capitalist society the economy will keep expanding, so profits will keep growing and both stock prices and stock dividends will increase as a result. There may be short term fluctuations, due to business cycles or rising inflation, but in the long term these will be smoothed out and the market as a whole will rise. Two additional benefits to the buy and hold strategy are that trading commissions can be reduced and taxes can be reduced or deferred by buying and selling less often and holding longer. Some proponents of the buy and hold strategy of investing often believe in the Efficient Market Hypothesis or the Random Walk Theory

Market Timing

Market timing is essentially the opposite of buying and holding. Market timers believe that it is possible to predict when the market, or certain stocks, will rise and fall. It therefore makes sense to buy when the markets are low and to sell when they are high in order to maximize profits. Market timers can use any number of different methods for timing the market - technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or even intuition . Most experts agree that market timing is incredibly difficult if not downright impossible.