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What Is a Contrarian?

Contrarian investing is a investment style in which investors deliberately conflict with winning market trends by selling when others are endlessly buying when most investors are selling. Berkshire Hathaway Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Warren Buffett is a renowned contrarian investor.

Contrarian investors accept that individuals who say the market is going up do so just when they are completely invested and have no further purchasing power. Right now, the market is at a pinnacle. Thus, when individuals foresee a downturn, they have proactively sold out, and the market can go up as of now.

Grasping Contrarian Strategy

Contrarian investing is, as the name suggests, a strategy that includes contradicting some common norms of investor sentiment at a given time. The principles behind contrarian investing can be applied to individual stocks, an industry as a whole, or even whole markets.

A contrarian investor enters the market when others are having a negative outlook on it. The contrarian accepts the value of the market or stock is below its intrinsic value and hence addresses an opportunity. Generally, a wealth of negativity among different investors has pushed the price of the stock below what it ought to be, and the contrarian investor will buy that before the broader sentiment returns and the share prices rebound.

As per David Dreman, contrarian investor and creator of Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Next Generation, investors overcompensate to news advancements and overprice "hot" stocks and misjudge the earnings of distressed stocks. This overreaction brings about limited vertical price movement and steep succumbs to stocks that are "hot" and passes on room for the contrarian investor to pick underpriced stocks.

Special Considerations

Contrarian investors frequently target distressed stocks and afterward sell them once the share price has recuperated and different investors start targeting the company too. Contrarian investing is worked around the possibility that the herd instinct that can assume command over market bearing doesn't make for a decent investing strategy.

In any case, this sentiment can lead to missing out on gains on the off chance that broad bullish sentiment in the markets validates, leading to market gains even as contrarians have previously sold their positions. Likewise, an undervalued stock targeted by contrarians as an investment opportunity might remain undervalued in the event that the market sentiment stays bearish.

Contrarian Investing versus Value Investing

Contrarian investing is like value investing in light of the fact that both value and contrarian investors search for stocks whose share price is lower than the intrinsic value of the company. Value investors generally accept that the market overcompensates to great and terrible news, so they accept that stock price movements in the short term don't compare to a company's long-term fundamentals.

Many value investors hold that there is a fine line between value investing and contrarian investing, since the two strategies search for undervalued securities to make money in view of their perusing of the current market sentiment.

Instances of Contrarian Investors

The most noticeable illustration of a contrarian investor is Warren Buffett. "Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful" is perhaps of his most axiom and summarizes his approach to contrarian investing.

At the level of the 2008 financial crisis, when markets were tumbling in the midst of a wave of bankruptcy filings, Buffett directed investors to buy American stocks. For instance, he purchased equities for American companies, including investment bank Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS). After a decade, his recommendation proved to be right. From 2008 to 2018, Goldman's stock had bounced by around 239%.

Michael Burry, a California-based nervous system specialist turned-hedge fund owner, is one more illustration of a contrarian investor. Through his research in 2005, Burry determined that the subprime market was mispriced and overheated. His hedge fund Scion Capital shorted the least secure parts of the subprime mortgage market and profited from them. His story was written up into a book, The Big Short, by Michael Lewis and has been made into a film of a similar name.

Sir John Templeton was a prominent contrarian investor and established the Templeton Growth Fund in 1954. With dividends reinvested, a $10,000 investment in the fund at beginning was worth $2 million by 1992.

Limitations of Contrarian Investing

Investors keen on utilizing a contrarian investing strategy ought to know about a portion of the strategy's drawbacks. It very well may be trying to find undervalued stocks and contrarians regularly spend a great deal of time researching stocks and different industries to track down potential investment opportunities. It won't be sufficient to depend on just doing something contrary to the overall market sentiment. Contrarians must foster their skills in fundamental analysis to measure a security's intrinsic value precisely.

Contrarians might have periods where their portfolios underperform. It might require a lot of investment before an undervalued stock starts to show gains. Meanwhile, the contrarian investor might need to get through paper losses on their investments.


  • The contrarian sees buying opportunities in stocks that are currently selling for below their intrinsic value.
  • The thought is that markets are subject to herding behavior augmented by fear and greed, making markets periodically finished and underpriced.
  • One more drawback associated with being a contrarian investor is the need to spend a reasonable setup of time researching stocks to track down undervalued opportunities.
  • Being a contrarian can be fulfilling, yet frequently a dangerous strategy might get some margin to pay off.
  • Contrarian investing is an investment strategy that includes resisting against existing market trends to produce profits.


How Have Billionaire Contrarians Used Deep Value to Beat the Market?

Deep value investing is a term frequently utilized related to billionaire contrarians who pick their stock investments in view of their analysis that a specific company is trading at numerous multiples below intrinsic or book value. These billionaires search at companies with share costs that have been unreasonably and altogether discounted by the market. They will then secure large stakes in these companies with the anticipation that over the long haul they will profit from the share price increase.

Who Are Some Famous Contrarian Investors?

Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are two of the most notable contrarian investors. David Dreman, investment company organizer and writer of several books on contrarian investing, is another noticeable contrarian. Beam Dalio, Sir John Templeton, Michael Burry, and George Soros are investors who have become well known as contrarians.

What Is Contrarian Investing?

Contrarian investing alludes to an investing strategy that searches for profit opportunities in trades that conflict with current market sentiment. For instance, assuming that the market is bullish, the contrarian investor is bearish and will search for opportunities to sell. Alternately, if the market is bearish, the contrarian is bullish and will search for opportunities to buy.