As any savvy shopper knows, there is a world of difference between a sale and a deal. Just because something is discounted from its initial price does not mean that it is worth buying—perhaps the sticker price was far too high originally, the discount is too small or the item is simply poor quality. Such considerations will be on the minds of people hitting the shops on November 25th for “Black Friday”, a mammoth sale which follows America’s Thanksgiving holiday.
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They are always on the minds of investors. “Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down,” Warren Buffett, a celebrated investor, once joked. Most share prices have fallen this year—the s&p 500 index of American stocks has shed more than a fifth of its value—but the prices of…