Every four years, in the build-up to the World Cup, lots of people attempt to predict the results of the competition.
Economists at Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s biggest investment banks, suggest that Brazil is the overwhelming favourite with Argentina trailing a distant second. At the start of the contest England had a 1.4 per cent chance of winning, according to the bank.
Stephen Hawking had used a scientific method to calculate that England’s best chances lay in a 4-3-3 formation, playing in temperate conditions, with a European referee, kicking off at 3pm. Even so, he also backs Brazil to win.
And who can forget Paul, the captive German octopus, who correctly predicted the results of all of Germany’s matches in the 2010 World Cup?
People go to great lengths to make credible predictions but it is rarely worth the effort because seldom are they accurate. A more meaningful alternative to making individual predictions is to use the aggregate of all the analysis expressed in book-makers’ odds. At the time of writing, Brazil are currently 11/4 favourites.
We use this idea as the root of our investment philosophy. We do not believe it is possible to reliably predict future events and think it is a waste of money to attempt to do so. We assume that all the relevant information has been taken account of by other people and we trust the aggregate of all analysis.
That aggregate is expressed as the price of a security and is the most reliable expression of the company’s prospects and expected returns.