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The Death of Buy and Hold

The five stages of death are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. We bring it up, because right now, Wall Street is really struggling with that last one, acceptance.

We’re talking about the death of that time honored investment strategy, buy-and-hold. Investors just can't let go, and they need to.

Thanks to black October, the S&P 500 has now lost a fifth of its value over the last 10 years. According to Jeff Macke, "2008 is the year that will go down in history as the year that long term investment died as a thesis."

And that means it’s time to move on.

But just because buy-and-hold is pretty much dead and buried, that doesn't mean you can't make money anymore.

Just like the widow who gets a second chance at happiness, financial planners are rediscovering an old love. It’s called diversification. And it could make investors very happy for a long time to come.

All the traders think that you shouldn't go into a stock before knowing when you'll get out of it. Maybe you sell if it goes up 10% or maybe you wait for it to double, but you should always know when to take some off the table.

"It’s very important to take profits in trades," adds Tim Seymour. "You can’t be in a market like this and asleep at the switch."

"Buying and holding isn’t going to make you money anytime soon," says Jeff Macke. "Whether you’re looking at Cisco or Potash don’t just hold on hoping to see new highs." If you do Macke thinks you'll be holding on for quite a long time.

"Yes, you’re going to pay more taxes and more to your broker if you take profits more frequently, but you have to take your trades when you have your trades."

"Even Warren Buffett is getting in and out of trades," adds Pete Najarian. "In fact, he plays Burlington Northern like a fiddle," although he does it with put options.

What the bottom line? Don't go into a stock without knowing when to take profits.

What do you think? Tell us now!




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Trader disclosure: On Nov.10, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Macke Owns (SDS), (MCD), (WMT), (BNI), (UUP), (MSFT); Macke Is Short (BBY); Najarian Owns (BBY) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (SBUX) Puts; Najarian Owns (CHK) Call Spread; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (F), (MER), (BX); Seygem Asset Management Owns (PTR)

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