Taxes aren’t the only reason short-term trading is a loser’s game for most investors. Trying to buy or sell shares based on a quarterly earnings report or an economic data point is a game for automated trading platforms, not the average Joe.
Better opportunities come when a stock or sector is dismissed by the market and languishes despite steady economic results that will produce a long stream of profits. Transportation stocks like airlines and railroads have gone through long out-of-favor stretches, only to churn out considerable gains when economic conditions and industry dynamics align.
Years of mismanagement in the airline industry led to a string of bankruptcies in the 2000s, but the resulting merger wave made American Airlines, United Continental and Delta Air Lines more competitive and poised to benefit from trends like plunging fuel costs.