Why picking stocks is only slightly better than playing the lottery

Investors who think they can be successful stock pickers are about to get some sobering news from new academic research.

The good news: Yes, buying one stock gives you better odds than buying a lottery ticket.

The bad news: Those “better” odds are still much too awful to stake your future on.

For starters, think about Treasurys, those boring, low-paying government securities that are at least reliable. Right now, you can buy a one-month T-Bill and expect a yield of about three-quarters of 1%. And you’ll get your principal back.

Right now, if you buy some individual stocks at random, you mightget some or all of your money back.

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