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Book Review and Giveaway: The Seven Rules of Wall Street

Book publisher McGraw-Hill was kind enough to send me their spring catalog for me to choose which books I would be willing to read and review.  Out of the many titles in the “finance” section, the book “The Seven Rules of Wall Street, Crash Tested Investment Strategies that Beat the Market” caught my eye.  I mean, who doesn’t want to beat the market?

About the Author:

According to the book:

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, serves as chairman of the S&P Investment Policy Committee, where he focuses on market history and valuations.  He is the author of The Standard & Poor’s Guide to Sector Investing and “Stovall’s Sector Watch,” a column featured on www.spoutlook.com.

About the Book

As indicated by the title, this book is about the seven rules of wall street and how they can be used to beat the market.  What rules might that be?  They include:

  1. Let Your Winners Ride, but Cut Your Losers Short
  2. As Goes January, So Goes the Year
  3. Sell in May and Then Go Away
  4. There’s No Free Lunch on Wall Street
  5. There’s Always a Bull Market Someplace
  6. Don’t Get Mad – Get Even!
  7. Don’t Fight the Fed

As indicated by the short author biography above, Mr. Stovall is a specialist in sector investing within the S&P500.  What are sectors?  Out of the 500 companies listed on the S&P500, they are sorted in “sectors” such as information technology, consumer staples, utilites etc.  In this book, Mr. Stovall goes through each of the “rules”, explains their significance, and creates mock portfolios including back tested returns (since 1990).

The strategies above all involve actively monitoring and trading your equity positions with the longest hold time of one year.  Rule #5 involves fairly high turnover with potentially trading out of your positions every month.

What I Liked/Disliked About the Book

What I appreciated most about the book was that Sam Stovall went through each rule, explained the benefits/downfalls along with back tested returns (CAGR and risk adjusted) since the inception of “sectors” on the S&P500 (1990).  In addition, he creates mock sector ETF portfolios to drive the point home.

The largest problem I see with his conclusions is that his sector data only goes back to 1990 which, when the book was written, is only around 18 years of back testing.  This is a relatively small market sample in the grand scheme of investing.

Final Thoughts

Sam Stovall has some very convincing arguments in his book and shows some statistically impressive market beating strategies.  His favorite strategy however, involves quite a bit of turnover which can generate unnecessary taxation in a taxable investment account.  The obvious choice would be to use a tax sheltered account, but as his strategies involve US based sector ETFs, the exchange fees would impact returns (for Canadians).

Perhaps the best bet, if someone were to follow the strategies indicated in this book, is to open a Questrade RRSP account which allows the investor to hold US Dollars (which no other Canadian online stock broker allows).

Want a Free Copy?

McGraw-Hill was generous in offering Million Dollar Journey readers the chance to win 2 copies of the book.  The details are below:

  1. Simply leave a comment and you’ll automatically be entered in the draw for a free copy.
  2. Follow me on Twitter for an entry.
  • Please only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Friday 5pm EST June 19, 2009 and the winner announced shortly after!

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).

FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Avatar The Financial Blogger June 16, 2009, 8:10 am

    The problem by taking 1990 data is that the last 10 years has been completely out of any “market rules” we know. Economic cycles are smaller, volatility is higher and they didn’t have much Hedge Fund back n 1990 (thank god we got rid of some of them lately ;-) ).

    Not sure that Sell in May and go away is a good rule:

  • Avatar B June 16, 2009, 8:23 am

    Best rule to beat the street? Get free stuff!!

    Keep up the great work!

  • Avatar Rob June 16, 2009, 9:06 am

    I’d love to win this book! Thanks MDJ for your effort on your site. I really enjoy reading it each day.

  • Avatar Philip in North York June 16, 2009, 9:10 am

    I wonder if his arguments are relevant in other places such as DJIA, NASDAQ, or in other countries.
    If there is no free lunch on Wall Street, then let me get a free book because I’m hungry.

  • Avatar Kirk S. June 16, 2009, 9:29 am

    I agree with The Financial Blogger…with all of the wild volatility since electronic trading has begun it is hard to make rules based upon that. Either way, it sounds like an interesting read!

  • Avatar Andrew June 16, 2009, 9:51 am

    “# Sell in May and Then Go Away”

    Always thought this was a silly rule.

  • Avatar Alexis June 16, 2009, 10:03 am

    please add me to the draw. Thanks

  • Avatar paulie June 16, 2009, 10:07 am

    please include my entry for the seven rules of wall street. thank you. i enjoy this site immensely.

  • Avatar Aaron June 16, 2009, 10:09 am

    Please enter me in the contest. Cheers!

  • Avatar Jared June 16, 2009, 10:11 am

    I have previously added this book to my list of books to read.

  • Avatar telefantastik June 16, 2009, 10:14 am

    I’m in too.

  • Avatar Cola June 16, 2009, 10:20 am

    I’d love to win this book. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Avatar Michael June 16, 2009, 10:22 am

    Sign me up! I would love a copy of this book

  • Avatar RI June 16, 2009, 10:33 am

    Welcome back, book review & giveaway!

  • Avatar CPS June 16, 2009, 10:36 am

    Would love to read another stock book. Enter me in the contest!

  • Avatar Dave D June 16, 2009, 11:04 am

    Sign me up for the draw. Thanks

  • Avatar clalc June 16, 2009, 11:05 am

    sign me up for this one too !

  • Avatar Frank June 16, 2009, 11:24 am

    Would love a copy thanks.

  • Avatar Nick June 16, 2009, 11:41 am

    Please sign me up for the draw. Thanks!

  • Avatar Sean June 16, 2009, 11:41 am

    Keep up the great blogs and book reviews. I appreciate hearing your opinions, and the opinions of your followers, on the many aspects of finance.

  • Avatar Jeff June 16, 2009, 11:46 am

    Throw my name in the draw bin please!

  • Avatar Josee Guindon June 16, 2009, 11:51 am

    I have been thinking of investing in stocks and such for a while. I think that I may feel more prepared to take the step if I win this book!

  • Avatar Barik June 16, 2009, 11:52 am

    Would like to get a copy of the book

  • Avatar Steve Zussino June 16, 2009, 11:55 am

    Sign me up to win this book (sounds interesting)

  • Avatar Allawi June 16, 2009, 11:57 am

    pick me

  • Avatar Naveen June 16, 2009, 12:07 pm

    Free stuff is always good

  • Avatar Rob June 16, 2009, 12:19 pm

    Sending in a comment so I can get entered in the draw but I was also wondering if anybody new about the witholding tax for american dividends if they are held in the TFSA. Do we still have to fill out that form? and would the dividends be tax free?

  • Avatar Naumko June 16, 2009, 12:34 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read! Count me in!

  • Avatar Brian June 16, 2009, 12:43 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  • Avatar Alex. June 16, 2009, 12:49 pm

    Here my comment and my ticket to a potential win.

    Rob…. interesting question as I haven’t thought of this issue so far. Let’s see what Frugal Investor says.

  • Avatar Sarlock June 16, 2009, 12:53 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read. I am a sector investor but usually with a longer time frame than a year. I try to spot macro trends occuring in the overall economy and go long (5-10+ years) on those.

  • Avatar Neeraj June 16, 2009, 12:54 pm

    please count me in.

  • Avatar Triple_Eh June 16, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Count me in.

  • Avatar AndrewP June 16, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Sounds like a great book!

  • Avatar Richard Murphy June 16, 2009, 1:03 pm

    I am overdue to read a good invest book , please enter my name

  • Avatar ldk June 16, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Please enter me for the draw as well! Thanks much~

  • Avatar Bob June 16, 2009, 1:10 pm

    Sounds like a great read. Thanks.

  • Avatar Matt June 16, 2009, 1:13 pm

    A friend told me about this book, it is on my reading list. Please count me in.

  • Avatar Bill M June 16, 2009, 1:14 pm

    Please add my name to the draw. Thanks

  • Avatar Oliver June 16, 2009, 1:17 pm

    In to win.

  • Avatar LVJ June 16, 2009, 1:20 pm

    Please add my name to the draw…Thanks

  • Avatar John June 16, 2009, 1:27 pm

    I’m always in to win!

  • Avatar Kent June 16, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Time to learn more techniques to manage my personal financial. I hope I can win. lol

  • Avatar Ace June 16, 2009, 1:39 pm

    I have been doing my own sector research. Would be better to read this book

  • Avatar Ace June 16, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I have been looking at beating the market in dif ways. Would be better to read this book

  • Avatar Elmanl June 16, 2009, 1:43 pm

    please enter me in the draw for the book !

  • Avatar Josh Blacker June 16, 2009, 1:47 pm

    Always enjoy your MDJ insights. Got you fed right into Google Reader and enjoy keeping up to date. Wouldn’t mind giving the book a read – for free :)

  • Avatar Adam June 16, 2009, 1:47 pm

    I’m interested. :)

  • Avatar Troy W June 16, 2009, 1:55 pm

    please sign me up for the draw

  • Avatar Cam Birch June 16, 2009, 2:03 pm

    I would love to win a copy of this book.

  • Avatar Mark June 16, 2009, 2:46 pm

    Please include me in the draw. Thanks!

  • Avatar Greg June 16, 2009, 2:56 pm

    Please enter me in the draw. Thanks.

  • Avatar Rod Payne June 16, 2009, 3:04 pm

    But is there anything new and exciting in the book, or is it a rehash of previous similar books?

  • Avatar Tin June 16, 2009, 3:05 pm

    I’m in! =)

  • Avatar R I June 16, 2009, 3:10 pm

    Free book! Woo hoo!

    I agree that 1990 is not enough data – in the US it covers one full recession and recovery, and a single cycle is not enoguh to draw anything conclusive. I am curious though about how a portfolio can succeed with reasonable probability in a down market.

  • Avatar Vince June 16, 2009, 3:24 pm

    court me in please..

  • Avatar cannon_fodder June 16, 2009, 3:35 pm

    Thank you for the review and the opportunity to win this book.

  • Avatar Keith June 16, 2009, 3:37 pm

    “His strategies involve US based sector ETFs”

    Could you to adapt to the strategy to Canadian ETF’s Canadian sector ETF’s. iShares has sector based ETF’s for energy, financial, gold, income trusts, materials, REIT, and technology. And Claymore has sector ETF’s for water, agriculture, infrastructure, oil sands, mining, and real estate.

  • Avatar Andrew June 16, 2009, 3:37 pm

    I enjoy reading your site and would welcome a new book!

  • Avatar tetsuo69 June 16, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Actually Questrade is not the only online brokerage that allows USD accounts. Tradefreedom allows one to hold both CAD and US dollars in an investing account all with one application.

  • Avatar Jimmy June 16, 2009, 4:45 pm

    sign me up for the book !

  • Avatar bob June 16, 2009, 5:57 pm

    here is my ticket for the draw…

  • Avatar Jesus June 16, 2009, 6:27 pm

    Count me in for the draw

  • Avatar Darryl Lapaire June 16, 2009, 11:58 pm

    Sign me up for the draw. Even with just a short history that he’s using to prove his points, I think there is likely some wisdom to be gained…

  • Avatar MultifolDreams June 17, 2009, 12:27 am

    Count me in

  • Avatar khai June 17, 2009, 12:46 am

    trying my luck in a contest. thanks.

  • Avatar P June 17, 2009, 12:49 am

    i’m in

  • Avatar BBQ June 17, 2009, 2:07 am

    I’m interested.

  • Avatar Barry Fence June 17, 2009, 3:08 am

    I think this is the only investment book my Dad doesn’t have, so please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

  • Avatar Wealthy Immigrant June 17, 2009, 8:08 am

    Thanks for the contest!

  • Avatar DG June 17, 2009, 10:56 am

    Me too!


  • Avatar Finance Matters June 17, 2009, 11:17 am

    Why not!

  • Avatar Satin005 June 17, 2009, 11:25 am

    Let`s see if I have a chance

  • Avatar CANADIANSTOCKSTRADER June 17, 2009, 12:25 pm

    Please enter me in the contest. THANK YOU!

  • Avatar Marianne O June 17, 2009, 1:06 pm

    This would be an interesting read, though I don’t know if it would lure me away from my “couch potato” setup right now. Maybe if I had a small side pot of funds to play with.

  • Avatar Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog June 17, 2009, 1:45 pm

    Interesting book, but I agree that the data timeline might be an issue.

  • Avatar lindahfx June 17, 2009, 1:58 pm

    This sounds very interesting. I’d love to win a copy! Thx.

  • Avatar Rishi June 17, 2009, 3:33 pm

    I’m in

  • Avatar Amit June 17, 2009, 7:14 pm

    Please count me in! Sell in May and go away only made sense for northern hemisphere and when we didn’t have emerging markets or southern hemisphere booms. Now, based on the weather, when some industries/sectors are down in northern hemisphere, they are doing well in the southern hemisphere, and vice-versa. You could always change it “Sell US stocks in May, buy Latin America, Australian stocks, sell them in October, buy US stocks again”.

  • Avatar Susan June 17, 2009, 7:31 pm

    This sounds great!

  • Avatar Finance Guy June 17, 2009, 8:34 pm

    Wow, I didn’t think you’d actually review all the points. Great job! I think I’ll pass on this one seeing as you weren’t blown away by it. It doesn’t really outline anything of interest that I haven’t read elsewhere.

  • Avatar SE June 17, 2009, 9:34 pm

    Love the MDJ blog. Would love to get the book. Just opened a questrade acct looking to take matters in my own hand ala Derek Foster

  • Avatar Linda Hamilton June 18, 2009, 2:24 pm

    I would love to win this book. I have been following your blog for a few weeks now.

  • Avatar Sean June 18, 2009, 4:57 pm

    Count me in for the draw, and keep up the good work.

  • Avatar Senk June 18, 2009, 5:59 pm

    Please enter me in the draw.

  • Avatar Neeraj B. June 18, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Looks like the book is more focused on seasonality and technical analysis than on fundamentals.

    Looks like an interesting read….please throw my name into the hat as well

  • Avatar Sajal June 18, 2009, 8:23 pm

    Please enter me!

  • Avatar karash June 19, 2009, 12:30 am


  • Avatar Terri June 19, 2009, 12:42 am

    Me too! I love this blog!

  • Avatar Mr. Mo June 19, 2009, 10:17 am

    In for the contest.

  • Avatar Chris June 19, 2009, 2:15 pm

    Sounds good.

  • Avatar Father of Five June 19, 2009, 4:48 pm

    I would love a book. Keep up the great work!

  • Avatar Blogging Banks June 21, 2009, 12:11 pm

    Sign me up!