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Small Cap and Big Cap Investing

By Hari Wibowo 

To be honest, it doesn't matter what type of stocks we invest in. Common stock with small capitalization (defined as having market capitalization of $ 500 Million or less) and big capitalization (market capitalization of $ 5 Billion or more) can give you outsized returns provided that you bought it under fair value. But if you were only given one choice, which one would you prefer?

Small cap common stock historically returned a higher rate of return than its big cap counterpart. All household names that you are familiar with were a small cap stock. Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Johnson & Johnson were all small companies. When a company is small, a few millions of additional sales may contribute to explosive growth in earning. Therefore, the reward of investing in small cap stock is high. How about the risk? The risk is plenty. 90% of all new business will fail during the first five years of operation. The statistic for the number of small cap public companies that fail are not widely available. But, my guess is it may involve about half of the publicly traded companies.

Big cap stock is a bigger and steadier companies. For some, bringing in one billion dollar of sales may not move the profit meter. Therefore, earning growth has slowed and the potential return is lower than small cap investing. The risk in investing in big cap stocks however is low. Sure, some companies fail from time to time. Polaroid, Enron and Worldcom came to mind. But for most occasion, big cap stocks can turn the ship around when they are in trouble. The phrase 'they are too big to fail' comes to mind. IBM, Altria, Bestbuy, General Electric, Walmart, Chevron have its ups and downs. All of them recover. Some of them were acquired later on. Therefore, the risk of failing is lower with these companies. Perhaps, it is as low as 10 - 20 %.

Now, it is your decision time. Which one do you prefer? I am more comfortable in investing in big cap stock. I still had plenty of investing time but big cap stock helps me sleep better. It matters more to me than higher potential return. The best solution of course is to mix your portfolio with both big cap and small cap common stocks. However, do not over diversify to the point where your return will be mediocre no matter what your stock prices do.

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Article Source: - Hari_Wibowo

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