Navigating Losses: How to deal with Declining Stocks in Your Portfolio

WealthBasketOct 06, 2023

In investment corridors, an enduring piece of wisdom is often heard, “Let your winners run and cut your losers. It’s easy to make a mistake and do the opposite, pulling out the flowers and watering the weeds.” These words from Peter Lynch, a successful American investor, remind us of the importance of managing our investments wisely.

When it comes to constructing a long-term equity stocks portfolio, we often pay close attention to our successful investments while overlooking the presence of losing stocks in our portfolio. 

Have you faced this dilemma of whether to hold onto your losing stocks or sell them off? This article will provide guidance on what to do with losing stocks and how to recover from investment losses.

Understanding Losing Stocks

Losing stocks are those whose prices have fallen significantly from your initial buying price, and you are unable to recover a substantial portion of your initial investment. These underperforming shares can continue to drain your financial resources in the share market.

Types of Stock-Trading Losses

In the world of investments, losses can take various forms:

Loss of Capital: 

This occurs when the stock price drops significantly below your purchase price, leading to a sale at a much lower value.

Opportunity Loss: 

You experience this when you have to wait a long time for the stock’s price to reach your purchase price, resulting in no returns when transaction charges are considered.

Missed Profit Loss: 

This loss happens when you fail to sell a stock that initially rises but later sharply falls, causing you to lose money. It’s essentially the loss of potential profits due to not recognizing the right time to exit.

Dealing with Losing Stocks

The pain of financial loss often outweighs the joy of gain. Consequently, when faced with a loss, we tend to hold onto losing assets, hoping they will recover and break even.

Here’s what you should consider instead:

  • Hold onto shares you believe are fundamentally strong and sell the losing ones, regardless of their past performance.
  • The original purchase price is irrelevant when deciding whether to keep or sell a losing stock.
  • If you wouldn’t buy more of a losing stock today, it’s often wise to sell it rather than waiting for a recovery.
  • Recognize that mistakes happen, and it’s better to accept a loss sooner rather than later.

Recovering from Stock Market Losses

Mitigating risk and managing losses are integral parts of successful investing. Here are some strategies to help recover from stock market losses:

  • Regularly review your investment portfolio to ensure it aligns with your goals.
  • Consider rebalancing your portfolio periodically to buy low and sell high.
  • Take accountability for your losses as a crucial step in regaining control of your investments.
  • Understand that you may not exit at the highest price; focus on exiting when the time is opportune.
  • Examine your choices and seek alternative strategies.
  • Reevaluate your investment goals and align your assets accordingly.
  • Develop and adhere to an investment strategy tailored to your financial journey.
  • Use losses as motivation to improve your financial skills and decision-making.


In conclusion, handling losing stocks requires a combination of prudence, discipline, and adaptability. By following these strategies, you can better navigate the challenges of the stock market and position yourself for long-term success.


What should I consider when deciding whether to hold or sell a losing stock?

Ask these questions before deciding whether to hold or sell a losing stock

  1. Is the company still generating positive earnings and cash flow? Does it have a strong balance sheet?
  2. Is the industry growing or declining? Are there any major changes or disruptions that could impact the company?
  3. Are you willing to hold the stock for a long period of time, even if it means taking on more risk?

How can I recover from stock market losses?

There are a few things you can do to recover from stock market losses:

  1. Review your investment portfolio regularly
  2. Rebalance your portfolio periodically
  3. Take accountability for your losses
  4. Exit losing positions
  5. Use losses as motivation to improve your financial skills

What are some mistakes to avoid when dealing with losing stocks?

Avoid the following mistakes when dealing with losing stocks:

  1. Don’t ignore your losses
  2. Don’t hope for a rebound
  3. Don’t sell at the bottom
  4. Don’t chase losses