ASK THE FOOL
Sunday 21 February 1999
A very Foolish question! It's great to see some long-term holdings. Here are some reasons we'd sell any share:
If we think we'll need the money within three to five years and preferably if the price is at a new high. No one knows what the market will do in the short term.
If that company is our only holding. Portfolios should be diversified. Our rule of thumb is to aim to hold eight to 15 companies, with no more than 33 per cent in any one of them.
If the reasons we bought and are holding the share are no longer valid.
If we find a better investment. (Make sure that the tax due on the gain would not defeat the purpose, though. It is often best to just hang on.)
These days, of course, most of us can buy all the shares we want within the tax-free wrapper of a personal equity plan or, after April, an individual savings account. Shares held within these tax-free wrappers are not liable for capital gains tax.
n Send us your question. If we publish it you'll win a 'FOOL' baseball cap. E-mail to UKColumn @fool.com or post to Motley Fool, The Independent On Sunday', 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.
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