Every year around this time, two powerful forces conspire to artificially suppress stock prices — and create bargains: Lust and vanity. As for the first force — the lust for profits — this is when individual investors dump losers to create tax losses to offset gains. The second force — vanity — has fund managers putting “window dressing” on their portfolios to get out of losers so they don’t have to show them in annual reports, points out Bruce Kaser, editor of the Cabot Turnaround Letter.

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